Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 7:40 am | Fair 44º


Supervisors Grant Permit Extensions for Miramar Hotel

Carbajal wants the developer to provide daily security patrols to curb squatters, and Wolf takes issue with the project's time line

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to grant development permit extensions for the economically stalled Miramar Hotel project in Montecito.

After the project was initially approved by the Montecito Planning Commission, and later the Board of Supervisors, in 2008, a group of Montecito residents filed a lawsuit against owner Caruso Affiliated.

A settlement was reached in April 2009 and the project seemed ready to go forward, but developer Rick Caruso said an ailing economy put the brakes on it. With a coastal development permit set to expire, he asked for a one-year extension of that permit, as well as a five-year extension of a conditional use permit.

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, responding to pressure from Montecito constituents concerned with the decaying site of the shuttered Miramar cottages, on Tuesday seemed eager to grant the permit extensions, but he also wanted Caruso to provide daily security patrols to curb squatters who allegedly have been disturbing neighbors.

“That really addresses the concerns the community has about individuals getting onto the property,” he said. “This community is tired of having this dilapidated nuisance in their community.”

Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, the lone voice of dissent on the project last year, expressed concern that Caruso would take an inordinate amount of time to get the hotel built.

“We want your hotel built,” she said, explaining that her opposition had been related more to the project’s scale. “I’m just incredibly disappointed that we’re going to have to wait until 2015.”

Caruso countered that in the current economy, building a luxury hotel is a fiscal impossibility.

“We cannot start the hotel now — it’s impossible,” he said. “If we’d have been able to start a year ago, things would have been different.”

Noozhawk staff writer Ben Preston can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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