Friday, December 14, 2012

Environmental Groups Appeal Ruling on Naples Development

Environmental Groups Appeal Ruling on Naples Development

Environmental groups are appealing the latest court ruling against them in the ongoing dispute over the proposed Naples residential development on the Gaviota Coast.
The Environmental Defense CenterNaples Coalition and the Surfrider Foundationsued Santa Barbara County for its 2008 approval of the Santa Barbara Ranch Project, which includes land on both sides of Highway 101.

They alleged the county violated theCalifornia Environmental Quality Act, the Coastal Act and planning and zoning laws, because the project was split into an inland portion and a coastal portion, though it still was covered by one environmental impact report.
In July, Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle upheld the county’s approval of a 71-home development proposal for the inland portion of the project, and the environmental groups said at the time they might appeal.
That appeal was filed Thursday in state court, according to a statement by the EDC and Naples Coalition attorney Marc Chytilo.
Naples Coalition president Greg Helms said the subdivision “will cause significant and unavoidable environmental impacts, and forever alter the rural character of eastern Gaviota” in a statement Thursday.
“We are committed to preserving this land,” EDC staff attorney Nathan Alley said in a statement. “It’s just a matter of time.”
The housing development still has to go before the California Coastal Commissionto get approval for the coastal portion before the inland project can even go forward, EDC attorneys have said.
Additionally, the Naples property was foreclosed on by First Bank in 2010 after developer Matt Osgood defaulted on loan payments. One buyer fell through, and no other purchaser has been identified thus far.
— Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk,@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Deal to Buy Naples Dissolves

Reposted from the Independent:

An aerial view of Naples, on the Gaviota Coast.William B. Dewey
An aerial view of Naples, on the Gaviota Coast.

Deal to Buy Naples Dissolves

BondRok and CrossHarbor Spit the Bit

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Well, that didn’t take very long.
Less than a month after publicly announcing that they were in the due diligence phase of a purchase and sale agreement to buy Naples, word came this week that CrossHarbor Capital Partners, an investment firm from Boston, and BondRok Partners, LLC, an LA-based development outfit pegged to potentially build the beloved and mostly pristine Gaviota property, have decided to pull out of the tentative deal.
Expressing his pleasure about the news, Naples Coalition lawyer Marc Chytilo, the man who represents the organization that has been working to prevent a build-out of the property since former owner Matt Osgood looked to plop several dozen McMansions on the land, opined Tuesday, “Our view has always been that this property should never be developed and this only confirms our belief.”
Since the spring of 2010, Missouri’s First Bank has owned the Naples property after Osgood defaulted on his $63 million loan with the bank. And while there have been a handful of rumored suitors for the property and its approved development plan, the BondRok/CrossHarbor camp was the first to be serious enough to actually take meetings with county officials in recent weeks.
Though calls to First Bank and CrossHarbor by The Santa Barbara Independent were not returned as of press time, according to sources within the county, the purchase agreement was “mutually terminated” by both the would-be developers and the bank.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Supervisors Vote No Confidence On Naples Project

Written by KEY News Staff

In a statement released by Naples Coalition, "This was a vote of no confidence in the proposed new owners" explained Naples Coalition Board member Mike Lunsford.

The Naples Coalition is made up of local non-profit groups whose mission it is to preserve the rural character of the Naples property and the Gaviota coast. Specifically, the coalition is responding to Vintage Communities, an Orange County development company that wants to build between 54 and 72 large luxury homes on the coastal bluffs at Naples.

According to the Coalition, the new developers reportedly include a bank and a private equity firm who are in the process of buying the property. They want the County to approve the transfer of one part of the preliminary entitlements tentatively approved by the County in October 2008. The County has 45 days to approve, reject or take no action on the proposed transfer.

Lunsford said in the statement, "These potential new developers have never successfully processed a development in Santa Barbara County, or in California's coastal zone. Their experience has mostly been in Las Vegas, Dallas and Wyoming. I expect that they may be gaining an appreciation for the magnitude of the obstacles they will face in attempting development at Naples on the Gaviota Coast".

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rasta and Transparentsea are sailing down the coast. First stop, Gaviota coast.

The Transparentsea crew have started their one month odyssey. They are sailing from north of Santa Barbara and heading to Baja, Mexico. They are sailing to highlight coastal issues and the plight of marine mammals. One of their first stops is the gorgeous Gaviota Coast.

During their stop in Santa Barbara they met with our local activist maven Sandy Lejeune.

Here Rasta and Sandy connect holding up the campaign T (pick one up on Swell).

You can engage in this campaign, sign the petition here Save Gaviota.

Photo: Dawe/TransparentSea

If that's not enough the crew, including Angus Stone, wrote and recorded a song about the 20 miles of Gaviota coast. Check that out here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Gifts of Gaviota

The Gifts of Gaviota

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Environmental Defense Center's Open Space Preservation and Education Network (OPEN) program is hosting a forum event to educate the community about the importance of the Gaviota Coast and the ongoing progress of the Gaviota Planning Action Committee (PAC). The event will be held on Thursday, April 28th from 7-9 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's beautiful Fleischmann Auditorium. The panel of speakers will discuss a variety of perspectives about Gaviota including its agricultural heritage, biodiversity, cultural resources, land use challenges, and how the community can become involved in making decisions about the future planning of this unique area. A "Q and A" session will be held afterward with panelists. Featured speakers will include: Larry Hunt, (wildlife biologist) Roberta Codero (Chumash elder), Mike Lunsford (Gaviota Coast Conservancy), Guner Tautrim (Gaviota landowner and farmer) and Mike McGinnis (educator). Free event open to the public.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saving What Remains of the Coast

Reposted from -

Saving What Remains of the Coast

Just When You Thought Naples Was Safe, Developer Resurfaces

By Sandy Lejeune, Phil McKenna

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In just over two generations, 280 of the 300 miles of Southern California coastline have been lost to development forever. Only 20 miles remain undeveloped—all that’s left for generations to come.

At the symbolic heart of these last 20 miles—which are known as the Gaviota Coast—lies the Santa Barbara Ranch. Commonly known as Naples, it is a parcel that for 123 years has confounded the dreams of numerous speculators.

So when an Orange County developer lost ownership of the Santa Barbara Ranch in a foreclosure sale last May, many Santa Barbara locals breathed a collective sigh of relief. After 11 years of our unrelenting work to preserve the Gaviota Coast—during which the community has come up against the developer’s Orange County millions, legal wrangling, a million pages (really!) of planning documents, and assertions of a last-minute deal between development interests—it appeared that the plan to build 71 McMansions at Naples was finished.

Is it?

The developer resurfaced in July, suing the bank that had acquired the Naples property in foreclosure. It is possible that his plans are back on track.

The legal drama continues, but regardless of who owns Santa Barbara Ranch and regardless of who wants to develop it, Surfrider, the Naples Coalition, and the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) want to reaffirm our long-standing goal: to preserve Naples and the Gaviota Coast.

Here are the plain facts about Gaviota:

• Development at Naples still represents the gravest threat to preserving the Gaviota Coast.

The development plan at Naples allows more than 600,000 square feet of building and miles of roads. It destroys and fragments agriculture. It forces urban sensibilities and infrastructure onto the rural Gaviota Coast. It is not the threat of urban sprawl; it is urban sprawl.

Paul Wellman (file)

Naples coastline

Surfrider, the Naples Coalition, and EDC sued the project proponents for numerous defects in the approved development plan, including the failure of the County of Santa Barbara to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The local citizenry overwhelmingly supports preservation of Naples; during two years of public hearings, not a single member of this community who was unaffiliated with development interests provided testimony backing development. For that matter, a majority of Gaviota Coast landowners also favor preservation.

• Naples isn’t the only development proposal that impacts the rural and agricultural character of the Gaviota Coast. Here is an inventory of coastal projects either in the pipeline or under conceptual consideration:

Paradiso del Mare, the site of the denied Arco golf course that Surfrider fought for 10 years, has undergone financial restructuring and reemerged under new management. It has applied to build two mansions on the property between the Bacara Resort and Naples.

Las Varas Ranch seeks to develop seven new houses.

Zacara Ranch (formerly El Capitán Horse Ranch), under scrutiny for unpermitted uses, contemplates significant development of polo operations, offices, and residences.

El Capitán Canyon Campground has proposed developing 40 additional campsites.

Eagle Canyon has a long-standing, incomplete application for four new building sites.

The Bacara Resort proposes building 55 time-share condos adjacent to the hotel—on ground that was originally preserved as mitigation for construction of the hotel.

Waiting in the wings are the Bixby and Cojo Ranches: 24 square miles surrounding Point Conception. These ranches were bought by Coastal Management Resources in 2007 for $155 million, with financing provided by the Baupost Group, a Boston hedge fund.

• The 20 miles of coastline between Goleta and Gaviota are all that remains of Southern California’s once unspoiled coast.

In our lifetimes, Southern California has forever lost thousands of acres of prime coastal land, native plants and animals and their habitat, and vibrant coastal watersheds, all destroyed by luxury condos, gate-guarded enclaves, yacht harbors, and unbridled sprawl. From San Diego to Santa Barbara, developers have taken our public resources—our coastline, our views, our beach access—for their own massive private gain. Now, there is no new ground for them to break on the Southern California coast but here. And they want this, too.

For more than 40 years, local residents dedicated to preserving the rich biodiversity and incomparable beauty of the Gaviota Coast have fought off development. We stand on the shoulders of all who have protected this coastline before us. That same will to preserve the few miles that are left lives today in the effort to save Naples and other nearby parcels from development. Please support Surfrider, the Naples Coalition, and EDC as we continue our efforts into 2011 and beyond. Twenty miles is all that we have left of the Gaviota Coast, and we will never give it up.

Sandy Lejeune is the chair of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and Phil McKenna is a board member of the Naples Coalition and the Gaviota Coast Conservancy