A Santa Barbara County Superior Court jury on Monday ordered the city of Santa Barbara to pay a Santa Barbara property owner $2.4 million in a dispute over a vacant oceanfront lot on the Mesa. 

The court ruled that the city unconstitutionally took away Thomas Felkay’s right to build a home on the property at 1925 El Camino de la Luz.

The city had denied Felkay a coastal development permit in June 2017. Felkay wanted to build a house on the property. A house on the site was destroyed in a landslide in 1978.

The city denied the permit because it claimed the new house was contrary to the local coastal plan because it would have required development on the bluff face. 

Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle made the original ruling in October about the unconstitutional taking, and still must rule on the amount of expert and attorney fees the city must pay to Felkay, on top of the $2.4 million, which was determined to be the value of the potential home.

The final total due Felkay will likely exceed $4.5 million, according to the law offices of Joseph Liebman, which represented Felkay. 

Santa Barbara City Attorney Ariel Calonne said Felkay had asked for $3 million. 

“We will be asking the City Council to consider an appeal,” Calonne said. 

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.