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Santa Barbara Ranch (Naples)

Naples Status Report - May 2009

The hearing on Naples originally set for May 5 on the County's next steps following Osgood's rejection of his approvals has been continued, probably until June 2, 2009.  Stay posted to this site for more information.

April 2009

After Osgood's attempt to terminate the MOU, The County Board of Supervisors voted to not amend the MOU, which serves to again link the final approval of both the inland and coastal projects to Coastal Comission action, which is many months to years away.  County Counsel asked the developer to tell them what the developer wanted.  The response was a frivilous allegation of a Broan Act violation.  It seems clear that the developer has few options left, and has started grasping at straws. 

February 17, 2009

Naples Developer Matt Osgood Terminates the MOU

Summary

There are some major new developments in the County's processing of the Naples approvals. In short, developer Osgood has moved to terminate the MOU and has asked that the County's approvals of the Coastal developments be withdrawn but that the Inland approvals remain effective. This amounts to having your cake and eating it too, which is not appropriate. The Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on March 3 that Naples Coalition supporters should attend. Urge the Supervisors to deny revisions to the MOU and direct staff to reject Osgood's attempt to save inland subdivision approvals after rejecting the coastal approvals.

Click here for Osgood's 2/5/09 letter terminating the MOU

Background

The Naples Coalition, EDC and Surfrider Foundation asked the new Board of Supervisors to cure a Brown Act violation from the Board's October 2008 closed session decision to revise the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing the Naples Project processing. The effect of the revision was to allow Osgood to develop the inland parts of the project before the Coastal Commission completed its review of all coastal portions. On January 27, 2009 the Board of Supervisors voted to cure the violation, effectively reversing the October decision. The Board stated they would hold a hearing on March 3, 2009 to decide whether to adopt the MOU revision in open session.

Rather than waiting for that hearing, Naples developer Matt Osgood sent a letter on February 5, 2009, terminating the MOU. Sent by his lawyer, the letter stated that Osgood wanted to reject the County's approval of the coastal approvals but retain approval of the 50 house inland subdivision and the five houses sought by Dos Pueblos Ranch.

Osgood wanted to let the County know he plans to take his marbles and go home by withdrawing his offer to provide several purported "benefits" - such as the freeway trail, accommodation for Chumash access, native grassland enhancement and affordable housing fees.

 

January 23, 2009

County Supervisors to Consider Demand to Rescind Closed Session MOU Revision

On October 7, 2008, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to adopt a revision to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Naples project.  The MOU revision allowed the developer to process and ultimately build the inland portion of the Santa Barbara Ranch project before the Coastal Commission took final action on the County's approval.  Although the original 2002 MOU was adopted in open session, the Board revised it in closed session.

The Naples Coalition, Surfrider Foundation and EDC objected to the action, and have demanded the Board rescind the closed session action by February 4, 2009.  The Board will have to take action by February 3, 2009.

Demand the Supervisors rescind the closed door action and bring their decisionmaking into the open.  See the Take Action section.

January 6, 2009

 

Coastal Commission Staff rejects County's flawed Naples Project Approval For the Third Time!

In yet another setback for the "Santa Barbara Ranch" development proposed for Naples, the Coastal Commission staff has rejected the County's Local Coastal Plan Amendments as INADEQUATE.   Although this is the first rejection of the LCP amendments, this marks the THIRD rejection of a portion of the County's submittal for the Naples development.

To see the letter click here.

It is unclear what the County's next step will be.  For the moment, at least the coastal parts of the Naples Project are DEAD IN THE WATER.

 

December 29, 2008

Coastal Commission Staff AGAIN rejects County's flawed Naples Project Approval!

In another setback for the "Santa Barbara Ranch" development proposed for Naples, the Coastal Commission staff rejected the County's submittal documents as INADEQUATE for a second time.   This submittal followed a special hearing on December 9 where the Project was approved, again, on a 3-2 vote.  This time, the Coastal Commission found three major errors - all based on a failure to issue Coastal Development Permits - CDPs - for various lot mergers, for certain development envelopes, and for a portion of the subdivision located in the coastal zone.

Supporters are encouraged to email new 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr (DFarr@co.santa-barbara.ca.us) on or after January 6, 2009, and ask that she insist upon hearings to consider the missing CDPs.

To see the Coastal Commission letter, click here.

Friday December 5, 2008

INFORMATION ABOUT NAPLES TRAIL CLOSURES AND BLOCKED ACCESS

For information about the recent closures of trails near Naples, see the Coastal Access page.

Monday December 8, 2008

The Board of Supervisors has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday December 9, 2008 to reconsider portions of the Naples approval.  Supporters are asked to email the Supervisors and attend the hearing asking that the revisions allowing immediate construction on the site not be adopted and the decision be postponed until next year to allow the public opportunity to review and comment on the proposed changes.

After the County approved the Naples project on October 21, it forwarded those approvals to the Coastal Commission.  The Coastal Commission immediately rejected the submittals due to numerous deficiencies in describing the project and the approvals.   The December 9 hearing is intended to correct those deficiencies.

Talking points for emails and calls to the Supervisors and comments:

Late distribution of information. Continue the hearing until January.  The County waited until the last minute to release information about these project changes.  The public has not have time to review these changes.  This is too big and complex of a project to rush through - give us time to understand these changes!

Keep the project as a package.  The original MOU keeps the inland and coastal portions together - the Board separated them in October.  There should be no development at Naples until the Coastal Commission makes its final decision.

Give a complete and accurate description of the project.  The Board does not even know what they approved, as shown by the Coastal Commission letter and the need to bring this back to the Board of Supervisors.  The public is in the dark.  There needs to be a complete Project Description provided and adequate time for people to review and make comments.  The revisions only complicate things further, and don't provide the information or level of detail the Coastal Commission requested.

Specifically, the proposed revisions:

  • were released to the public less than two days before written comments were due
  • are full of errors that make the project even more difficult to understand
  • don't describe the water treatment facilities and other infrastructure serving the coastal development
  • don't explain how development on the coastal Dos Pueblos Ranch lots fits into the ‘staged' development scheme
  • still don't disclose grading quantities for the inland lots, which accounts for 94% of the total grading
  • still include coastal permits that are too general and lump all infrastructure together
  • don't include coastal permits for mergers and existing unpermitted roads as required
  • undermine all project conditions by giving the MOU priority over the conditions
  • weaken a key condition protecting water quality on the Dos Pueblos Ranch coastal lots
  • undercut conditions that made sure the inland development wouldn't be stranded without infrastructure
  • allow appealable permits and the local coastal plan amendment to go together to the Coastal Commission, when the Commission must review the amendment first

For more information, review the letter submitted on 12/5 to the Supervisors from the Naples Coalition, Surfrider Foundation and EDC by clicking here.

 

Thusday November 20, 2008

Lawsuit Filed!!

Today the Naples Coalition, Surfrider Foundaiton and EDC filed a lawsuit in Santa Barbara County Superior Court challenging the county's approval of the Naples project.  A copy of the petition can be downloaded here.   The lawsuit raises numerous challenges to the project and its approval, including claims under CEQA, the General Plan, the Coastal Act and the Williamson Act.   For more informaiton, review the Press page link.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Download the Naples ad that ran after the Supervisor's decision here.

As expected, by a three to two vote, the Board of Supervisors today gave away a huge piece of the Gaviota Coast to an Orange County developer. The Board approved 71 mansions sprawled across nearly a thousand acres of highly valuable agricultural lands. The Board also adopted revised project conditions and development agreements that operate to tie the hands of future Boards of Supervisors and constrain the Coastal Commission's ability to fully review the project. Supervisors Carbajal and Wolf voted against the approval of the project.

Over 100 different approvals were granted in outgoing Supervisor Firestone's motion to approve the project as proposed. A deeply flawed environmental impact report was accepted as adequate by the three supervisors, even though the project description was substantially revised in May after the final EIR was released, and in the face of a last minute letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service voicing substantial concerns over the project's impact analysis. The Board accepted a policy consistency analysis that principally deferred to the developer's threats as a reason to overlook policy inconsistencies. The Board agreed to sign two lopsided development agreements that tie the hands of future Boards by insulating the developer against revised conditions, new circumstances or changes in law. The Board made last-minute changes to the conditions allowing the developer to delay or avoid mitigating the impacts of a portion of the development.

Naples Coalition President Phil McKenna started: "Democracy was the biggest loser with today's approval of the Naples development. The three north county supervisors ignored the unanimous community testimony opposed to developing Naples, delivered through years of public hearings." He continued: "the north county supervisor's vote to develop Naples, particularly after each trumpeted their affection and devotion to the Gaviota Coast, was shameful and hypocritical. They demonstrated a complete lack of political leadership and imagination in blindly approving the developer's dream project without question."

The Naples Coalition announced that it will appeal the Supervisor's actions to the Coastal Commission and the Superior Court. "In their haste to get this project approved before Supervisor Firestone left office, gross procedural errors were made. These errors and violations of law provide a fertile field for challenges to the Board action and keep open the door for a far superior outcome at Naples" stated the Coalition's attorney, Marc Chytilo.

It is painfully clear that the proposed project is simply too big for the Gaviota Coast and Naples townsite, with massive homes behind looming gates and hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of grading scarring the natural foothills and burying native grasslands. It is absurd to propose a coastal subdivision without offering a coastal blufftop trail and beach access, leading to a field day at the Coastal Commission, in the words of Supervisor Carbajal. The Board's closed session decision on October 7 improperly changed the rules for this mega-project by amending the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), after the original MOU was adopted in open session. At the October 13 hearing, former 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall explained that the Supervisor's intention in 2002 was to process the coastal and inland projects together if the same zoning applied, as the MOU clearly said before the recent amendment. Advocates for the Gaviota Coast submitted extensive legal analysis and argument establishing that the MOU revision endangered the County's legal position and threatened to impose even greater numbers of houses at Naples without ending the developer's lawsuits against the County.

Regardless of the outcome at the County, the fight to save Naples is far from over. The County's action is largely a warm-up for the Coastal Commission, which will first take up the Local Coastal Plan changes, a process that will take 1-2 years. Only after the Local Coastal Plan changes are completed can the County consider Coastal Development Permits for house, bridges, and water treatment plants. We are confident that a more engaged Supervisor for the 3rd District will be helping shape the project and give positive leadership to achieve the best outcome for Naples when the approvals come back to the County. In the mean time, the EIR is legally inadequate and the project violates numerous applicable state and local policies. The Supervisor's closed door MOU decision violated the public's trust and the law. The Naples Coalition has pledged to employ every appropriate appeal for all County actions on Naples, to the Coastal Commission and in court. Some things are too important to give up on, and the Gaviota Coast is one such thing.

The Naples Coalition works in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and their attorneys, the Environmental Defense Center. Appeals will be filed at the Coastal Commission within 10 days, followed by a lawsuit filed within 30 days of the Board's action. Thank you for the outpouring of emails to the Supervisors and your participation in the hearing processes. Thanks to Supervisors Carbajal and Wolf, and keep the faith. We will Save Naples!!!

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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

- Margaret Mead US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 - 1978)

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BLUEGRASS LEGEND LAMPOONS GREED AND HOBBY FARMERS - ANYTHING SOUND FAMILIAR???

Del McCoury, legendary bluegrass, country and folk musician, recently released a CD project called Moneyland. Moneyland was written in response to the environment in Washington DC that has led to tough times throughout rural America. Del writes in the title tune Moneyland:

"Now it's a pity to see
When the land of the free
Turns out to be
Nothin' but a free for all."

AIN'T IT THE TRUTH.  We found that this music had a lot of overlaps with our battles to save the Gaviota Coast.

In particular, Del wrote a song about the parcelization of rural lands entitled "40 Acres and a Fool" that speaks volumes about what is happening at Naples and the Gaviota Coast. We asked, and Del granted us permission to post this song on this website.

Visit this link for a video of 40 Acres and a Fool performed by Del and his band.

The lyrics for 40 Acres and a Fool are available here.

We hope you enjoy the music, and the sentiment. Thanks to Del McCoury for producing his fine CD Moneyland and for his support for preservation of rural lands throughout our country.

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Please take a moment to send an email to the Supervisors, either thanking Supervisors Carbajal and Wolf for their support, or criticizing Supervisors Firestone, Gray and Centeno for blindly approving an Orange County development on the Gaviota Coast, their email addresses are available on the County website - click here

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Download October 7, 2008 Press Release – In Secret, Closed Session, Board of Supervisors Improperly Approves Changes to Naples MOU, Enabling the Division of the Project into Two Separate Projects

COUNTY STAFF ADMITS SUPERVISORS' CLOSED SESSION OCTOBER 7 DECISION TO SEPARATE NAPLES DEVELOPMENT CAN LEAD TO WORST CASE SCENARIO - 50 MANSIONS ON INLAND PLUS 67 MORE HOUSES IN COASTAL AND NO RESOLUTION OF LITIGATION

Concerns of Community activists were vindicated by the last minute release of revised County project planning documents. In a Staff Report dated October 9, in preparation of the Monday, October 13, final hearing on the future of Naples, County staff finally admitted that if the Coastal Commission denied or "extensively conditioned" the Santa Barbara Ranch project at Naples, 50 lots in the inland area would be built, plus up to 67 lots in the coastal zone. This exceeds the number that are projected to be built if the Board simply denied the project.

"This reflects a coordinated effort by a Orange County developer intent on crippling coastal protection in Santa Barbara County and a reckless, pro-development lame-duck Board of Supervisors assisting him in extracting excessive development at Naples by attempting to tie the Coastal Commission's hands" explained Naples Coalition attorney Marc Chytilo. Chytilo continued: "Their plot has been exposed; they weren't ever going stop at even 71 luxury mansions on the Gaviota Coast. Developer Osgood, working through Supervisors Firestone, Gray and Centeno, have laid a trap for the Coastal Commission and tied the hands of future Boards of Supervisors. If a future Board or the Coastal Commission act to implement reasonable coastal policies, Osgood is set to punish the Gaviota Coast with 50 inland lots plus up to 67 coastal houses, instead of the 71 houses total. Its Osgood's poison pill against application of Coastal policies."

To further constrain the County's ability to review future lot by lot development at Naples, the Staff proposed that the Board find that the alternatives considered in the Santa Barbara Ranch EIR could be used for these future development proposals.

"This is an absolute worst case scenario for the Gaviota Coast, led by a pro-development County planning staff that misled the Planning Commission on critical Coastal Commission positions. The County has utterly abdicated all pretense of policy-based land use planning and capitulated to the demands of a greedy Orange County developer and his minions intent on wrecking the Gaviota Coast." said Naples Coalition President Phil McKenna.

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More actions you can take today: Volunteer to help save Naples (click here to download form). We need helpers with the Rally and with our ongoing efforts. Sign up for GaviotaAction Action Alerts Pass this message on to friends and colleagues who care about the Gaviota Coast. We invite your feedback and welcome your support. Together, we can Save Naples!

Please see the Naples Calendar section for a list of important upcoming hearings. In the near future we will post more information here about how to get involoved in these hearings.

Sign up to receive focused action alerts and talking points.

Click here for background information about the Naples project or visit www.SaveNaples.org

Project documents, including the EIR and staff reports, are available at http://sbcountyplanning.org/projects/03DVP-00041/index.cfm

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