Tuesday, November 24 , 2015, 6:47 pm | Partly Cloudy 61º

Court Upholds Santa Barbara County’s OK of Naples Project

Opponents vow to continue their battle against 71-home development on the Gaviota Coast

Attorney Marc Chytilo is interviewed outside court Tuesday after several groups he represents lost a court ruling involving proposed development at Naples on the Gaviota Coast.
Attorney Marc Chytilo is interviewed outside court Tuesday after several groups he represents lost a court ruling involving proposed development at Naples on the Gaviota Coast.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle on Tuesday ruled against a coalition of environmental organizations that had filed a legal challenge to Santa Barbara County’s approval of a 71-home development proposal at Naples on the Gaviota Coast.

The county Board of Supervisors approved developer Matt Osgood’s Santa Barbara Ranch project in 2008, but the property was foreclosed on by First Bank in 2010 after Osgood defaulted on loan payments.

The land — on both sides of Highway 101 west of Goleta — was transferred to SBRHC Inc., a First Bank affiliate, and the holding company got the OK to transfer development agreements to a potential buyer.

The buyer, a Delaware limited liability company, didn’t go through with the deal, and another purchaser hasn’t yet been identified. 

An attorney from the County Counsel’s office and attorneys represented the various interested parties all attended Tuesday’s court hearing.

The crux of the issue comes down to the project’s division into an inland portion and a coastal portion, covered by a single environmental impact report, and plaintiffs’ argument that last-minute changes weren’t included in the review.

The Environmental Defense Center, the Surfrider Foundation and the Naples Coalition sued the county, alleging the Board of Supervisors had violated the California Environmental Quality Act, the Coastal Act and planning and zoning laws.

They have asserted that the project should never have been given the go-ahead, and the area should be preserved, not developed.

Attorney Marc Chytilo said the project had “an October surprise” — with four times as much soil removal called for in a major revision. The impacts of this change weren’t analyzed in the environmental impact reports.

“The county cut corners and didn’t recirculate the EIR,” he argued.

Despite the favorable ruling for the project, the housing development will still face opposition.

It still has to go before the California Coastal Commission, which has to approve the coastal portion before the inland project can go forward, and the plaintiffs may appeal Tuesday’s ruling, EDC attorney Linda Krop said.

There is still the opportunity for all parties to work together, and the EDC hopes for a conservation buyer or someone willing to work with environmental groups, she added.

“Our resolve is only going to be strengthened by this decision,” said Sandy Lejeune, Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation chairman. Surfrider has been working against Gaviota Coast development for 20 years, and has gathered 3,000 signatures in favor of preservation, he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

comments powered by Disqus

» on 08.01.12 @ 01:55 PM

Attorney Marc Chytilo said the project had “an October surprise”, unfortunately Mr. Chytilo is a paid ambulance chaser for the political left.  He has an unfortunate foot in mouth tendency of a lawyer bully, and the only reason he gets away with it is for too long the Superior Court system of Santa Barbara County and the DA’s office have been politically impacted by “social justice” law instead of statue.  Who funds most of the activities he is involved with?  The same political shakers that back the left leaning judges, Supervisors Wolf, Farr, Carbajal, and more. 

This decision is as much a surprise to the middle of the road, who believe in property rights, as to Chytilo and Krop of the EDC.  Judge Anderle is not known as a property rights judge, so the facts must have been heavily against the EDC.

They will use every tactic to prolong this, in hopes, as too often with the middle and right, they will compromise rather then take the long view.  It is sad to watch the Surfrider group become so aligned with the radical left.

» on 08.01.12 @ 02:11 PM

Anyone ever think about the hidden cost of this activity?  EDC, Surfrider, etc. operate on donations, but they support an industry of lawyers, planners, etc. who then take up government time (i.e. spend taxpayers’ money) on something that they have 3,000 signatures for.  Which of course means 10’s of 1000’s of people did not sign up for this.  I love the beauty of the Gaviota coast as much as the next guy, but I also have a healthy respect for private property rights.  So instead of using the donations to pay lawyers, etc., start a trust fund and BUY the property and then put it into the public domain as a park.  I’m wondering if over the past 20 years these organizations have already spent enough to have done that.

» on 08.01.12 @ 02:20 PM

Standard Santa Barbara practice.  I get to tell you what you can do with your land if I don’t like what you’re doing with it.  God forbid we ever have property rights.

I applaud the County for approving this project and returning some semblance of reason and liberty to property ownership.

» on 08.01.12 @ 02:50 PM

sbdude, and John over 30 years ago I tried to get many of the touchy feely left who were against development to start the fund(s) necessary to buy property.  I pointed out the hundreds of thousands donated every year would easily create a treasury capable of buying these lands.  They would not do it.

It became obvious early on the intent of the left is to create a crushing case law regardless of the Constitution and property rights.  As John pointed out the costs in government, and to the taxpayers in both indirect and direct costs is amazing.  Their point of view is Individual Rights should be and are subservient to big centralized government with rights far greater than those enumerated in the Constitution.  (Divine Right Kings - Communists - Fascists choose your flavor)

What is even more unbelievable is most of these same types are living in homes and locations away from the great unwashed.  They quickly figure out an acre of land away from downtown is preferable to “high density” “infill” 30 units an acre development.  After all you have to have a place to run your dog, and grass yards for the kids to play in.  Forget the fact they will put everyone else in a Skinner Box environment.

» on 08.01.12 @ 05:22 PM

Development in Santa Barbara makes for very strange bedfellows indeed. I too am saddened by Surfrider’s leftist lurch, they ruined my neighborhood by butting into road way issues they had no business with except for their adamant anti car philosophy.

I agree with two points made here, one, if people really want preservation, then put your money where your mouth (or lawyer) is. And two, the leftist/enviro-whacko/preservationistas front here has created an entire industry of planning consultants, lawyers, advocacy groups all of which survive on your higher cost of living.

Everything these groups have done in the name of saving our beautiful environment was doable through the existing government/planning and zoning architecture. But the aim was not only obstructionism on a level never seen before but to support wealth and value consuming enterprises that have caused more damage than good.

They don’t care to be labeled that way, having their egos bloated by years of fawning over by an ignorant public, yet they are ever quick to deliver far worse disparaging remarks to those they commonly demonize.

» on 08.01.12 @ 11:01 PM

AN50 on point as always.  As an ignorant newcomer to CA many years ago I joined Surfrider thinking they were dedicated to clean beaches and better surfing.  Once I discovered, to my horror, that they were in cahoots with the EDC and other lefty deniers of private property rights I cancelled my membership with an appropriate letter.  Interestingly, one of their reps recently tried to get me to sign one of their petitions by telling me they were raising money for a purchase offer on the Osgood property, in fact that they had made one but it was rejected.  Anyone else heard this?  Is it true?

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.