The Santa Barbara Ranch development project, also known as Naples, has been through a lot in its 11-year journey, from issues with contradictory governmental approval to financial difficulties — the latter of which could result in a public auction for portions of developer Matt Osgood’s land.

Osgood has defaulted on payments of his multimillion-dollar loans, and a notice of unified trustee’s sale states that he owes about $78.4 million.

“Unless you take action to protect your property, it may be sold at a public sale,” the document says.

In case of a public auction, 1,035 acres would be earmarked to sell to the highest bidder for cash.

Osgood couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, and it’s unclear whether the auction will go ahead as scheduled on May 13.

Osgood was sent a notice of default last year regarding a missed payment and had a March deadline to come up with the money or face the threat of foreclosure. He believed he could renegotiate the loans with First Bank, his largest creditor.

The luxury home project land includes 3,200 acres on the Gaviota coast from the Naples town site on bluffs overlooking the ocean to the foothills of Dos Pueblos Ranch across Highway 101.

Osgood’s original project was approved in October 2008, when the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors backed the project on a 3-2 vote. That majority included now-retired 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone, who supported the project but was succeeded by Doreen Farr, who opposes it.

Many of the conflicts came about because of Osgood’s decision to split the two areas of the project — the inland and coastal portions — despite having them included in the same environmental impact report.

Last October, the Board of Supervisors flip-flopped when it voted to yank Osgood’s development agreement on the inland portion of the project. The board met the next week, and ended up backtracking on that decision when the state Department of Conservation weighed in, one of the two oversight agencies in Osgood’s 71-home project.

The department issued its approval and removed the property’s subjugation to the Williamson Act, which gives tax breaks to land owners as long as they use the land for agriculture or open space.

Osgood has a 20-year window to complete the inland portion of the site. The coastal portion, however, where 16 homes are slated, is still an open question. 

Supervisors voted 3-2 in October to renege on the agreement for the coastal portion. Osgood told Noozhawk after that meeting that the property actually has 60 buildable spaces, and that denying his coastal plan could cause another developer to bring forward an even denser plan.

Osgood can’t proceed with the inland portion of the project until the California Coastal Commission acts on any appeals associated with the inland portion.

The Naples Coalition, the Environmental Defense Center and local Surfrider Foundation have vocally opposed the project and filed lawsuits in 2008 against the Board of Supervisors challenging the project approvals.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at

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Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at

Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper

— Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.