A real estate and investment group is in escrow to purchase the Naples property on the Gaviota coast, and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will ultimately decide whether the proposed development should be transferred to the potential buyers.
The current property owner, SBRHC Inc., a First Bank affiliate, on June 6 sent the county an official request for a transfer of development rights to the potential purchasers, Spectra America of Los Angeles and New York-based Cerberus Capital Management, according to Dianne Black, assistant director of county planning and development.
She said county supervisors have 45 days in which to consent or to elect not to allow the transfer agreement to stand, and added that inaction within that time frame would essentially concede the transfer to the new owners.
The item is tentatively scheduled for a hearing before the supervisors on July 2, although Black said both parties have the option of extending the time frame and continuing the matter until after the board’s summer break on Aug. 20.
The Board of Supervisors has supported the Naples development project in the past. In 2008, the board granted approval of initial plans for a 71-home development on the 3,200-acre tract, which straddles Highway 101 west of Goleta.
First Bank took control of the property after a foreclosure process involving the initial developer, and hasn’t found a viable enough buyer since.
Black said the county could refuse the transfer of development rights if either Spectra America or Cerberus Capital Management is also found lacking in financial resources or in some other way as companies.
“The development agreement is fairly specific,” she said, noting the terms. “It’s really reputation and financial resources. We have not received any information about Spectra America yet.”
The Naples project has received staunch opposition over the years from environmental groups. Late last year, a judge ruled against a coalition of environmental organizations that had challenged the county’s decision to approve the Naples development on the grounds that the county violated several environmental protection laws.