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Naples Development Appeal
updated: Dec 13, 2012, 4:37 PM

Source: Environmental Defense Center

LOCAL GROUPS APPEAL SUPERIOR COURT DECISION ALLOWING DEVELOPMENT AT NAPLES ON THE GAVIOTA COAST

Today, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), Naples Coalition and Surfrider Foundation filed a Notice of Appeal in state court, marking the beginning of another chapter in the long-running dispute over residential development at Naples. The appeal challenges a July 2012 decision by the Santa Barbara Superior Court that upheld the County's 2008 approval of a 71-unit McMansion subdivision. "This appeal is necessary to preserve the public's interest," said Sandy Lejeune of Surfrider. "We will continue to do everything possible to save Naples in its entirety."

The groups' original lawsuit alleged that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors' approval of the Santa Barbara Ranch Project and the certification of its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the California Coastal Act, and other state and local laws.

Naples is home to rare species, sensitive habitats, cultural and historic resources, breathtaking views and active agriculture. It is the eastern gateway to Gaviota and a buffer against suburban sprawl. "The approval of a 71-unit luxury residential subdivision on the rural Gaviota Coast will cause significant and unavoidable environmental impacts and forever alter the rural character of eastern Gaviota," said Greg Helms, President of the Naples Coalition.

Since the 2008 approvals, the original Project applicant lost Santa Barbara Ranch to Project lenders in foreclosure. First Bank of Missouri, which is now trying to sell the property through its holding company SBRHC, Inc., has entertained several interested parties, but each withdrew after undertaking "due diligence" review of the property and recognizing the extraordinary challenges to any form of development at Naples.

The Superior Court decision only affected the inland area of Santa Barbara Ranch. Any proposed development south of Highway 101 must still be reviewed by the California Coastal Commission.

"We are committed to preserving this land," said EDC Staff Attorney Nathan Alley. "It's just a matter of time."

 

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