The first physical signs of development have appeared at the Miramar Beach Resort & Bungalows site in Montecito, where developers are preparing for final approval to move the project forward.

So-called story poles have been erected on the nearly 16-acre parcel overlooking Miramar Beach and the Pacific Ocean ahead of a Dec. 15 meeting, when the Montecito Planning Commission could OK revised resort plans.

The poles denote the proposed location and height of some of the buildings, and more black bags filled with the accompanying orange netting sat in piles on site Wednesday.

“Those have been going up the last few weeks,” said Montecito project planner Nicole Lieu, who noted the process — although not entirely common — has been used locally in the past.

“In this case, there was a request by the Montecito Board of Architectural Review to erect some to show the height of some buildings before the commission hearing, so commissioners could do site visits.”

Approval could keep developer Caruso Affiliated on track to open the resort in summer 2017.

The privately held real estate company revealed revamped project plans in August, featuring a scaled-back design with 170 guest rooms instead of 186, including 27 oceanfront rooms and suites, and a freestanding presidential suite.

Caruso Affiliated purchased the property in 2007, with initial project approval granted in 2008. Lieu said revised plans — approved in 2011 — allowed developers to demolish the existing hotel, and approval this month would OK building a new one.

Planning Commission approval could be appealed, however, up to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors or the California Coastal Commission, Lieu said.

Caruso Affiliated did not disclose project costs, but previous reports show the company was trying to raise $170 million in financing.

The original Miramar Beach Hotel was established in the late 1880s as one of the first beachside hotels in California, but has remained vacant since 2000. The buildings were demolished in 2012 to make way for the new project.

The new design adds an oceanfront restaurant and a tweaked Miramar Club to the property, which will boast meandering pedestrian walkways, an intimate garden, and 68 new public parking spaces along Jameson and Eucalyptus lanes.

The luxury resort’s main building will feature a lobby, bar/lounge, ballroom/meeting rooms, and premier ocean- and mountain-view suites on the second level.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Story poles went up recently for the new project on the Miramar Resort property in Montecito, with bags of extra netting on site. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)