Friday, October 23, 2009

County Takes Steps to Rescind a Giveaway at Naples

On Tuesday, Oct 20th, the Board of Supervisors initiated rescission of two ill-conceived development agreements for the Santa Barbara Ranch Project at Naples. The Board also took steps to facilitate Coastal Commission review of the Project and restated its own commitment to reviewing Naples related issues with a wide lens and an open mind.

Exactly one year ago, an Orange County developer obtained approval from the County to develop a 71 unit luxury residential development on a portion of the Gaviota Coast known as Naples. In addition to approving a subdivision and other entitlements for the controversial project, the former Board of Supervisors approved two "Development Agreements", which are contracts between the County and the developer that lock in the approvals and prevent the County from changing the law or rules applying to the project. Today, the current Board introduced an ordinance rescinding the development agreements, and took an important step toward protecting the County's interests and ability to respond to changed circumstances.

Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr had asked County staff to evaluate the potential for canceling the development agreements at a hearing in June. Supervisor Farr's request followed the developer's unusual action in February of rejecting some, but not all, of the project approvals, and threatening to develop the coastal portion of Santa Barbara Ranch at much higher densities than the approved project.

In addition to their action on the development agreements, the Board also directed Staff to further investigate the status of the project description and to then send a single revised Notice of Final Action to the Coastal Commission for review.

The Board is scheduled to consider adoption of the ordinance rescinding the development agreements at the October 27, 2009, Board hearing. EDC and our friends at Surfrider and the Naples Coalition hope that you can attend!

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