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Environmental Groups Appeal Ruling on Naples Development

Environmental groups are appealing the latest court ruling against them in the ongoing dispute over the proposed Naples residential development on the Gaviota Coast.

The Environmental Defense Center, Naples Coalition and the Surfrider Foundation sued Santa Barbara County for its 2008 approval of the Santa Barbara Ranch Project, which includes land on both sides of Highway 101.

They alleged the county violated the California Environmental Quality Act, the Coastal Act and planning and zoning laws, because the project was split into an inland portion and a coastal portion, though it still was covered by one environmental impact report.

In July, Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle upheld the county’s approval of a 71-home development proposal for the inland portion of the project, and the environmental groups said at the time they might appeal.

That appeal was filed Thursday in state court, according to a statement by the EDC and Naples Coalition attorney Marc Chytilo.

Naples Coalition president Greg Helms said the subdivision “will cause significant and unavoidable environmental impacts, and forever alter the rural character of eastern Gaviota” in a statement Thursday.

“We are committed to preserving this land,” EDC staff attorney Nathan Alley said in a statement. “It’s just a matter of time.”

The housing development still has to go before the California Coastal Commission to get approval for the coastal portion before the inland project can even go forward, EDC attorneys have said.

Additionally, the Naples property was foreclosed on by First Bank in 2010 after developer Matt Osgood defaulted on loan payments. One buyer fell through, and no other purchaser has been identified thus far.

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.

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