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And The Walls Came Tumbling Down
updated: Dec 04, 2012, 7:16 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Demolition has finally begun at the Miramar. Anyone know any details about negotiations with Rick Caruso?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 350326P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 07:50 PM

About bleeping time.


 COMMENT 350355P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:08 PM

I was considering demoing it myself, and serving it to him piece by piece if he didn't get moving...


 COMMENT 350363P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:50 AM

What sweetheart deal do you suppose the county gave him? Based on previous negotiations, you KNOW the rules are going to be bent somewhere along the line.


 COMMENT 350367 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:30 AM

I bet the rules were not only bent, but broken, and “special new rules” written especially for him. Money talks!


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:51 AM

About time, the place should have been cleared years ago. Better yet, it never should have been allowed to close without a "bond of completion", before a permit was given to start the tear-down.


 COMMENT 350373 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:59 AM

Frankly, other than those buildings deemed "historic" by the County (I can't remember anymore if there were there any) and as sad as it is to lose buildings that are a part of Montecito's history, Schrager, Ty Warner and Caruso should have demo'd the buildings long, long ago. The County should have required it for health and safety reasons. Anyway, its a start. But where's the story? Seems to me, if I had everything in place to begin redevelop, I'd issue a press release announcing the commencement of construction and be there with distinguished members of the community to move the first dirt. . . .


 COMMENT 350389 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 07:37 AM

I'll believe it when I see it.


 STRAY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:19 AM

"The-many-years-long-big-hole-in-the-ground", aka the former Hotel Carrillo (now the Klimpton Canary Hotel), and the boarded up Hotel California of the La Entrada project should have been history lessons for the 3 developers of the Miramar Hotel.

Ten years ago, I think politicians and Montecito neighbors got caught up in the details of what's going to be built next, and not the details of razing the Miramar structures as a first step. There were talks about the cottages being historic, and if I recall correctly, they were offered by some owner to anyone for free if one moved them at one's own cost. None disappeared.

After demolition, if the Miramar lands remains vacant, the public wins. If a hotel never gets built, it's not our problem, it's the developers' problem.


 COMMENT 350407 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:27 AM

Oh great. Looks like the city council will have another opportuniy for congratulatory back slaps at a job well done. Oh wait it's a rotting eye sore.. Nope! They'll find a way to congratulate themselves for consistant poor decision making I'm sure! Have a beautiful and happy day! :-)


 COMMENT 350413 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:43 AM

STRAY That is the new technique used by developers here. They propose a lavish and profitable developement and the county or city through their land use processes and public imput, impose a number of conditions and restrictions for the good and the aesthetics of the community. The developer then does nothing, allows the property to run down or remain in a deplorable and usightly condition using all manner of excuses, typically the economy, financing, etc. Then after the eyesore has antagonized the community and they clamour for something to be done, the developer goes back to the City or County and has all of the restrictions and conditions originally imposed (and typically opposed by the original developer at the time) removed from the project to enhance profit and to the community's detriment. This is the now preferred method of evading developmental regulations.


 COMMENT 350416P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:51 AM

The biggest road block in building in Santa Barbara is the neighbors. How many projects have come to a hault because a neighbor complains. Just look at the PC or the SFDB.


 COMMENT 350424P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:12 AM

PC or SFDB? What are those?


 COMMENT 350434P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:25 AM

Of course the biggest roadblock to building is the neighbors. We're here. We'd like to retain what open space remains. Duh. I'm usually irritated by development activity on any large open space, because I know yet another field is being lost, and yet more humans are being crammed in, with their resulting impact on infrastructure. Redevelopment of existing space is different, and can be OK, if the developer acts responsibly. Playing the game 413 describes is neither responsible nor considerate, so we're entitled to be irritated by that too. It ain't neighborly to negatively impact your neighbors before you even move in.


 COMMENT 350436P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:29 AM

350413: You have hit the nail on the head. The only way for this "new technique" to end is for residents and voters to demand that their elected officials NOT allow this to happen. The spin that Caruso and others try to employ, blaming regulations and neighbors is PURE BS. Yet most people won't take the time to examine the record, and learn how the rules were BROKEN and Causos project was FAST-TRACKED despite repeated concerns at the time. Caruso knew then as he knows now that he has NO INTENT to build this project, he KNEW THEN where the market was heading, he has waited for the right time to flip it, and he will, just like TY Warner did. People, that has nothing to do with neighbors, regulations, or anything- it is all about shrewed, billionaire political pressure and manipulation in a community that should know better


 COMMENT 350454P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:53 AM

While I am not a fan of Caruso, I am also not a fan of all our government watchdog groups. They are enacted with good intentions, but don't always work in real life. Has anyone dealt with the SB Single Family Home Review Board? Who are they to decide what "looks good"? Why are their qualifications any better than my own architect's? It is too subjective, and they can kill a project or force you into something you don't like. And certainly adds big costs to every project in extra time for the architect to present and go through multiple rounds of changes, or piles of paperwork.


 COMMENT 350468 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 10:14 AM

If they knock it down and nothing gets built, that's fine by me.
We don't need more buildings.


 COMMENT 350480 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 10:34 AM

Just like the Biltmore, SYR, et al, I won't be able to afford to stay or eat in whatever is built there, so I couldn't care less what happens.


 COMMENT 350511 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 11:32 AM

The general attitude here is what I call a SB attitude. To hell with the owner and his intentions. He should create a lavish park and donate it to the community. A lot of the problem is with a government that seems to agree with development plans but then rejects any details that emerge.


 COMMENT 350537 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 12:08 PM

480 is right. That place used to be so much fun. Xmas parties, the Piano Bar...Who cares now. I guess Montecito will get a taste of what some good old large scale development will be like. I am blown away the county went along with this. I wonder how many accidents will happen with slow trucks getting on that crappy on-ramp. Danger Will Robinson...Danger!


 COMMENT 350598 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 03:15 PM

537, the piano bar was tired and vacant nearly 15 years before they closed. The food was bad from 1979 on. Please, I'm all for nostalgia, but this place was awful for a long, long time and had hardly any patronage (particularly local) for nearly 20 years before they closed.

I know, I worked there! The place was a legit dump before it was demolished.


 COMMENT 350605 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 03:38 PM

355P: The Miramar was there before you were. This is not "open space" to be "retained" or a "field" that is being "lost". It's a commercial property that was developed over 100 years ago to be a hotel. It was purchased with the intention to rebuild and modernize it. If you don't want to live near a hotel, you should never move into that neighborhood.

Your desire to take away someone else's rights to use their own property the way it was intended -- and zoned for -- is exactly the problem, and we are all paying the price of Montecito NIMBYism.


 COMMENT 350625 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 04:21 PM

605, though in fairness, it might as well be an open space. It's been what, 15 years since it was partially demo'd? It's a non-sea artificial reef.

I don't think there is ANYthign remotely NIMBYish about the desire to get this thing either re-developed or razed completely until such a time exists.


 COMMENT 350633 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 04:44 PM

598: I'm confused by your response. Is there some statute of limitations on owning undeveloped property? NO. If you purchased a property, but couldn't afford to build on it right away, would it be "fair" if you you were prevented from building on it later? NO. As long as the property owner pays their property taxes, it's their property to do what they choose. Anyone who thinks it should just be left empty because they prefer it that way, is the very definition of NIMBY.


 COMMENT 350681P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:44 PM

Isn't clearing the property a pre-condition to maintaining development rights?

(I am NOT addressing the validity of the development or Caruso's plans/games.)

Independent 11/21/12:
"Meanwhile, as of Monday, county staff had approved non-expiring permits for the project, according to Dennis Bozanich, assistant to the County CEO. Caruso is only required to do two things to be entitled to the permits: demolish the property and pay $1.4 million, which he already has done. He has until March 2013, but can ask for extensions of his current permits until 2015. While originally he promised to demolish the buildings on the property when a bed tax rebate was in place, Caruso will “probably move forward with demolition” regardless, Middlebrook said. He said the citizens of Montecito deserve to get rid of the dilapidated buildings.

The move would be sound business as well, as the non-expiring entitlements make the property much more valuable."


 COMMENT 350684P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:46 PM

633, yes, in a sense there IS a statute of limitations to owning a property like this. It's the conditions the gov't./permitting agencies set forth.


 COMMENT 350705 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 07:26 PM

Montecito Coastal Homeless Camp.

The MCHC will be the next use, after the demo is done and nothing else happens for a few months.


 COMMENT 351538 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 06:39 PM

The former Wilcox property owners tried a a similar stunt to retain their entitlements, pouring the slab for a three car garage at the eleventh hour only to be told: too little, too late. Then look what happened: Dog Park!


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