Bellosguardo Foundation Resubmits Plan for Public Tours

This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.

By Tyler Hayden of The Independent

The Bellosguardo Foundation has resubmitted its proposal to Santa Barbara officials for hosting tours of late Huguette Clark’s clifftop estate. The documents attached below offer the most detailed look yet at the seven-year-old nonprofit’s first steps toward opening the private grounds to the public and eventually transforming the dusty relic of turn-of-the-century opulence into a modern community center for the arts.

“By utilizing existing infrastructure with the addition of ADA ramps and restrooms the foundation can accommodate public access to the main house where it can experience it as it was when the Clark’s [sic] last visited in 1953,” the foundation, which is seeking conditional-use and coastal-development permits, said in a letter to the city’s Planning Commission. “In the future the foundation will return to the city with requests for permits to upgrade the facilities for expand [sic] parking, accessible areas, and guest experiences.”

The application’s operations plan shows Bellosguardo will offer “self-parking tours,” in which a maximum of 34 guests would park on the property and be directed toward a “rally point” for a docent-led tour of the first floor of the main house. Tours will be every hour and a half from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Reservations would be made through the foundation’s website. “On-site valet” tours will be conducted for larger groups of up to 63 guests. Ticket prices were not included.

The foundation’s application also seeks permission for different-sized special events each month with shuttle service: up to five special events for between 64-199 guests, up to two for between 200-500 guests, and five dance and theater performances for between 500-1,500 guests each. A separate letter stated Bellosguardo employs four full-time maintenance workers and anticipates hiring five more people when tours begin.

City planner Kathleen Kennedy said staff are still reviewing the new proposal, which comes eight months after its first draft was sent back with requests for more information. A final decision is expected by November 30. If approved, there would be an environmental review and vetting by the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission and Planning Commission. Approvals could be appealed to the state’s Coastal Commission.

Meanwhile, the Bellosguardo Foundation remains in delinquent status with the California Registry for Charitable Trusts after it failed to file complete financial records for the last three tax years. The nonprofit has a deadline of November 29 to conduct an outside audit or its 501(c)3 status could be suspended or revoked.


Written by Tyler Hayden

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  1. It’s super-gross to watch people abuse non-profit status. The idea that anything this group does is at its core about serving the public (the key pillar of non-profit mission) is a big joke.
    The fact that you might let the “public” come in doesn’t come close to cutting it.. pro-bono public service needs to be the heart of your activities… not a side-show to a super-schwanky event / gala clubhouse for the uber rich. Go get em Tylor!

  2. Good we are getting an airing of the facts about this charitable gift. Lots of misperceptions floating around, obviously and a few personal axes to grind. Appreciate the long slog here to finally shed light and truth on a few years of ongoing misinformation. Keep up the personal attacks you two ZB and Rinconer, so we can all learn the real story about Bellosguardo -start to finish. Thanks Mr Dedman for hanging in there, under this relentless barrage. I learned a lot myself – first misstep was assuming, like others, that the city had some role in its operations due to the early appointment of the then current mayor of SB to choose the newly formed Foundation board. After which the board, not the mayor, in turn hired the mayor’s campaign manager boyfriend as their executive director. That did give the **appearance** of conflict of interests, and even a certain degree of sleaziness at worst. But supporting facts now presented have cleared the air on that issue: private foundation board members have the sole duty is to select and hold their CEO accountable – and no one else, as long as best practices are followed. Best wishes to the operation of your foundation in the future, Mr Dedman. Thanks for your well-stated rebuttals, and I hope in the process those taking these continual potshots allows others finally get more facts put into this community-wide discussion.

  3. . . . . Huguette’s last visit was in 2007 actually, that was when she fired Jon Douglas, and had a new oven installed for her friend. He was the one she maintained everything for, and, left everything to in her True Will ~ which she left with & entrusted to the IRS, who were instructed to wait 7 years so her lawyers (who she didn’t trust) mendacity could be exposed. They ignored her wishes & confiscated most of her $6Billion Estate = which included Madison Square Gardens, the entire building at 905-907 5th Avenue, Clark’s Shoes, and her favorite house in Hawaii (across th street from Doris Duke’s Shangri-la) where she went every Winter up until 2007. The foundation was her crooked lawyers idea, she dreaded anyone else seeing or visiting her homes. When the friend went there with Dina Merrill, with Huguette’s authorization, they found the lawyers had brought Douglas back saying “tough! She can’t do anything about it now!” This whole usurpation ordeal is monstrously wicked & bogus, please pray for sweet, amusing Huguette to get some righteous Justice . . .

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