The Santa Barbara Planning Commission has been tasked with settling a dispute between Santa Barbara coastal blufftop neighbors.

The City Council heard an appeal Tuesday but voted to send the project to the Planning Commission. 

The controversy surrounds a house on the 1900 block of El Camino de la Luz, where homeowners reportedly cut down 17 trees and plant 55 shrubs on the property without a coastal development permit.

Neighbors filed an appeal to the city, but the Planning Commission determined last year that the trees cut down were dead or dying and that the impact “minimal and was not considered a negative impact.”

An complaint was also filed, separate from the appeal, saying that the property owner has installed an informal beach access stairway that was not part of the permit. 

In an unusual move, the appellant, Norbert Dall on behalf of an entity called Emprise Trust, did not appear to make his case in front of the council at Tuesday’s meeting.

The homeowner, Nancy Brock, attended the meeting to speak and called it an “ill-founded appeal.”

She said the appeal was retaliatory because she and other nearby residents had previously opposed Emprise Trust’s proposal to build on a property on the same block. 

“I really regret the valuable time taken of the council,” Brock said. 

If the Santa Barbara Planning Commission signs off on the stairwell and other work, Dall could appeal the matter to the California Coastal Commission, according to the city.  

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com.