Wednesday, October 18 , 2017, 8:41 am | Fair 64º

 
 
 
 

Local News

County Supervisors Clear the Way for Two Proposed Mansions on Coastal Parcel

With concerns ranging from damaged wildlife habitats, drought, limited public access to the beach, and Chumash historical sites, dozens of public speakers sent a clear message Tuesday opposing two mansions proposed for a coastal parcel west of Goleta.

However, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors ultimately voted unanimously to allow the project, which sits on the eastern edge of the Gaviota Coast, to move forward, saying that the public benefit would outweigh the drawbacks.

The Paradiso del Mare project would result in two residences on 142 acres — a 6,000-square-foot home on the coastal portion of the property and a 7,000-square-foot project on the inland portion.

The property sits west of Bacara Resort & Spa, and the project was approved by the county Planning Commission but appealed by environmentalists.

The mitigation measures required to build the project included public-access easements for lateral and vertical access across the property, a parking lot for public use, 117 acres of open space, on-site habitat restoration and construction of a portion of the California Coastal Trail.

Those attempts to sweeten the deal proved to be enough for the Santa Barbara County Trails Council to withdraw its appeal.

But other groups said that those mitigation measure weren't enough, and that the county should do more review of the environmental impacts.

More than 30 people spoke during public comment, opposing the development for various reasons, and urging the supervisors to uphold the appeal.

The decision to move forward clearly troubled Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, whose district would be home to the project.

She said that no homes in the area is the ideal, but without someone to buy the land and keep it vacant, the development would move forward.

"I don't know how to get there without a conservation buyer," she said.

Farr acknowledged that residents care deeply about the Gaviota Coast, and that she did, too.

"There's a lot of public benefit that has been offered here," she said. "The greatest challenge is getting those easements dedicated, and once you have them, you can find the money."

Appellants had raised issue with the fact that the project site was the home to the nesting site of white-tailed kites, and that the project also borders an active seal rookery. The environmental documents hadn't adequately reviewed those issues, the groups asserted.

But Farr said she felt that providing more of a setback for the trees on the property, where the kites had nested, would constrain development, and that the seals would not be affected by the homes.

"I think there has been a thorough environmental review," she said. "I think there could be some temporal loss [of access to the beach] … . It's my responsibility to try and provide access for all users."

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

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

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.

Sign Up Now >