Friday, February 19, 2010

Rick Rietveld painted fin up for auction to support the Save Gaviota campaign!

Rick Rietveld has generously donated this one-of-a-kind painted surfboard fin to raise $ for the Save Gaviota campaign!

100% of money raised from this auction will go towards the 10+ year campaign to stop all development South of Highway 101 and preserve the pristine beauty of the Gaviota Coastline for future generations to enjoy.


Rick Rietveld -

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Naples Development Hits Major Financial Snag

Crumbling Cash Foundation?
Naples Development Hits Major Financial Snag

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paul Wellman (file) - Matt Osgood

Already mired in a development delay of epic proportions, Matt Osgood and his controversial plan to put several dozen luxury homes at the eastern gate of the Gaviota Coast recently have run into an entirely new financial roadblock. According to public documents, the Orange County-based Osgood missed a roughly $3.1 million mortgage payment last May and, as a result, was served with a notice of default in early December from his primary creditor, First Bank. In short, unless Osgood can figure out a way to renegotiate his $63 million loan and/or come up with some serious cash by the March 12 deadline, he runs the very real risk of the historic Naples property going into foreclosure.

“We will have to wait and see, but it certainly looks like this whole thing is starting to crumble,” said Naples Coalition lawyer Marc Chytilo this week, pointing to a decision made by the county’s Board of Supervisors four months ago to rescind a portion of Osgood’s hard-earned development approvals, a series of lawsuits swirling around the debate, and the recent financial woes.

Fully acknowledging the less-than-ideal fiscal turbulence currently rocking his 71-mansion vision for Naples, Osgood was confident on Tuesday that his issues with First Bank would be resolved. Balking at notions of bankruptcy or even possible foreclosure, Osgood opined, “This doesn’t put Naples at risk. … In fact, I would say this is fairly common in these current financial times. It might take three days or three months, but we will get this thing restructured.”

Paul Wellman (file) - Naples coastline

To him, the aforementioned money crisis ravaging the country, the loss of property value in Santa Barbara County (Osgood figured this week that Naples had lost 30 to 58 percent of its value), and, of course, the publically popular vote by the Supes last October basically to erase the coastal portions of the development approvals and permits all suggest that a restructuring was in order for his massive loan, even without the missed mortgage payment late last spring.

According to Osgood, he not only is in “ongoing negotiations” with First Bank as the deadline approaches, but he also recently worked out a restructuring for his other Naples-specific loan (this one for about $18 million) held with a “private individual.” “It is hardly ever a smooth process,” added Osgood.

Though Osgood said it isn’t necessarily related to the default situation, real estate firm Kerry Mormann and Associates began advertising late last week two configurations of lots for sale at Naples. In and of itself, Naples lots on the market is far from new news—not only has Osgood repeatedly threatened to start selling off individual lots if things don’t work out in his favor, but Mormann and Associates have, on previous occasions, offered up various incarnations of Naples listings—but the timing of the newest properties does seem to be more than mere coincidence. Specifically, two chunks are on the market: The 110-acre coastal bluff is priced at a cool $55 million, and a 90-acre “horse facility” property at $15 million.

As for the project itself, with its future tossed into an unprecedented state of limbo thanks to the Board of Supervisors’ vote to take back the coastal part of their approval, things, at least in Osgood’s words, “still have a long way to go.” While the inland area development approval still stands, it has not yet begun to move forward as the California Coastal Commission is slated to hold a hearing, sometime this year, on the lot mergers required to make it a reality; Osgood’s once-upon-a-time approved plans for the coastal potion of his several-hundred-acre property essentially are back to square one.

For their part, both Chytilo and the folks from the Environmental Defense Center (who are representing the Surfrider Foundation in the fight against development at Naples) relished the apparent money trouble currently facing the developer. “We thought the thing was financially unstable from the beginning,” stated Chytilo, “and this only confirms that belief.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Naples Project Status Report

reposted from:


    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
    The Naples Coalition applauds and thanks the legion or volunteers and supporters that have played important roles in the fight to save Naples. We are in the midst of battle on a number of fronts, and making significant positive progress. Saving coastal open space lands that others want to develop is never simple or quick. But so long as we can fight at every step, the developers will be held at bay and a permanent solution will eventually be achieved.

This is a status report to give you background on where the key battles are being fought today and will be in the future. We close with some simple “talking points” to answer questions other people may ask you about Naples. It is important that we state clearly our resolve to fight each and every inappropriate development at Naples and elsewhere on the Gaviota Coast. Naples and the Gaviota Coast are community treasures that cannot and will not be destroyed while we watch. We are committed for the long haul to saving these lands.

Naples Development Status: We have been whittling away at the County’s tentative approvals for the 71 houses the Supervisors approved in December 2008, immediately before the retirement of Brooks Firestone. The new supervisor for the 3rd District, Doreen Farr, is more protective of the Gaviota Coast and led the charge to rescind the development agreement for the 16 coastal lots. The County concluded the development agreement for the inland area had taken effect and couldn’t thus be rescinded without potential County liability. We believe the County has mis-read the operative documents, and are continuing to advocate for rescinding the inland development agreement as well.

The development agreements are long term contracts (30+ years) that lock the approvals in, preventing additional requirements and forcing future Boards of Supervisors to support the approvals regardless of changed circumstances.

The tentative County approvals remain in place, but all of the development requires approval of either infrastructure (roads, water lines) or the houses themselves from the California Coastal Commission. The Coastal Commission has demanded, in accordance with Coastal Commission practice, that the County recognize the act of merging the substandard lots as a form of development, since they facilitate development on the site. The Coastal Commission position requires additional County approvals that are now less certain due to the changed makeup of the Supervisors. This issue will go to the Coastal Commission first, probably in the next year, for an unusual “dispute resolution” hearing. The public will be alerted and asked to participate in that Coastal Commission hearing.

Assuming the County clears that hurdle, the Coastal Commission will then consider the revisions to the Local Coastal Plan and the permits themselves. The Naples Coalition, along with our allies the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and EDC, consider the County approvals defective due to a number of Coastal Act and Local Coastal Plan inconsistencies, and the Coastal Commission hearing will be an important forum to air and resolve those claims, including concerns that the County failed to protect public access and require a trail network that enables public use in those areas where historic public use has created a prescriptive easement. The Naples Coalition and Gaviota Coast Conservancy are collecting surveys of the public’s areas of use that will be important to the Coastal Commission.

The Naples Coalition, Santa Barbara Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and Environmental Defense Center filed a lawsuit challenging the County’s approval of the development on a number of grounds. This lawsuit will be heard sometime later this year.

At the moment, there are no buyers for the mansions proposed at Naples, and it appears there will not be for many years. The Santa Barbara Ranch developer, Matt Osgood from Orange County, is currently experiencing financial difficulties and may be unable to fund the many expenses required to perfect his approvals. It is unknowable at this time what may happen and who may own the property in the future. Numerous attempts to sell even parts of the project have been unsuccessful, and the Naples Coalition believes strongly that applicable policies and land use constraints render virtually all the Naples lots unbuildable. In any case, any development proposed on Naples lots will face staunch opposition and be scrutinized from every angle.

Naples and the eastern Gaviota Coast should be preserved as public open space, not be used for a wasteful and inefficient subdivision of gated, second homes. For over 100 years, many developer’s dreams have died at Naples, and the land is figuratively littered with their broken pick-axes. The Naples Coalition seeks to preserve Naples for future generations as an example of the undeveloped Gaviota Coast, and will continue its efforts for as long as it takes to preserve in perpetuity the rural character.

In a related development, another Orange County developer, Makar, has proposed 2 mega mansions next to Naples. Those houses are under review at the County. Makar also owns 25 additional Naples lots, but has not formally proposed development on those lots yet. The Naples Coalition and Gaviota Coast Conservancy are collecting evidence of the public’s historical use of the Makar lands as well. Any development would have to be approved by the County Supervisors and the Coastal Commission. Makar lost in a lawsuit filed by Gaviota Coast Conservancy and the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and may not have a water supply for half of the project. That decision is on appeal.

Other Gaviota Coast developments have faced opposition. GCC successfully stopped a mega mansion on Farren Road known as the Ballantyne residence and coined a “massive house and wall of dirt” by local journalists. The house was approved by the Supervisors at the behest of Brooks Firestone, but blocked shortly after. The Court of Appeal recently upheld the trial court decision to stop the project.

The Gaviota Coast Conservancy is monitoring and engaged in a number of other development proposals along the coast, and is active in the GavPac, the General Plan Advisory Committee that is reviewing land use protections on the Gaviota Coast.

Generic Naples Messaging:

► The development was poorly conceived and the approvals deeply flawed. The community will fight to preserve Naples for as long as it takes

► Any attempt to develop an individual grid lot will be subject to a series of obstacles and staunch opposition

► This property should be open space open to the public. Eastern Gaviota Coast must be protected, not developed

► Past public use of eastern Gaviota Coast has created permanent public rights of use by implied dedication. The Naples Coalition is collecting surveys from individuals that have used the area.

For more information contact Janet Koed at (805) 683-6631