Op-Ed: El Capitan Canyon Resort Expansion Appeal Continued To April 24

EL Capitan Canyon Resort Expansion Appeal Continued To April 24, 2024 (Courtesy)

Doug Kern, Gaviota Coast Conservancy

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission will consider GCC’s appeal of the El Capitan Canyon Resort “Area F1-F2” Expansion Project on Wednesday, April 24th. This Project includes two development areas that are squarely within the Critical Viewshed Corridor Overlay (CVCO) that the Gaviota Coast Plan established to protect nearfield views of the mountains and ocean from Highway 101.

The proposed Project includes 22 “RV Cabins”, 17 yurts, a 1,200 square-foot campground support building, an 1,800 square-foot camper services building, a 2,700 square-foot camper services barn, and a 592 square-foot comfort station, 2 swimming pools, new roadway infrastructure, and new night lighting. If built, the Project would represent the most significant visual change to the Gaviota Coast viewshed in decades.

EL Capitan Canyon Resort Expansion Appeal Continued To April 24, 2024 (project rendering)

Here are some talking points that you might include in your comments:

  • CBAR’s approval was flawed and incomplete for failing to include the 22 “RV Cabins” in its review process. These luxury accommodations remain fixed on the landscape and are for all intents and purposes “structures” that require CBAR review.
  • There is no valid CDP underpinning CBAR’s approval. The CDP issued in 2011 expired under the clear terms of the County’s ordinance in 2013, and accordingly, a new CDP is required and must comply with the Gaviota Coast Plan.
  • According to the Gaviota Coast Plan’s heightened protections within the CVCO, all “development” must be reviewed by CBAR under the Site Design Hierarchy and Design Guidelines that apply to this highly visible project.
  • Allowing the Project to proceed with an expired permit, reviewed under pre-Gaviota Coast Plan standards, is contrary to the County’s ordinance and would undermine public trust in the planning process.

We encourage members of the public to submit comments via email and/or speak at the hearing in person or by Zoom.

Materials for the hearing including the Staff Report and Project Plans are available here:  https://cosantabarbara.app.box.com/s/q97rv82305oyfnbdjhcyxrrdhu3dgkqy/folder/249980427735 

Comments or emails are needed to discourage the expansion.  Please send another comment even if you have already sent one previously to support GCC’s appeal. You can help!

Emails to the Planning Commission should be sent to dvillalo@co.santa-barbara.ca.us by noon on Monday, April 22nd.

The hearing will be held on Wednesday, April 24th at the County of Santa Barbara Engineering Building, Room 17 123 East Anapamu Street, in Santa Barbara.  To participate by Zoom, please register in advance for the webinar at: [website and agenda not yet available]  The hearing starts at 9AM but the agenda and the El Capitan item have not yet been set.

Op-Ed’s are written by community members, not representatives of edhat. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the author’s.

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Written by GaviotaCoastConservancy

Protecting the Gaviota Coast since 1996, the Gaviota Coast Conservancy has grown from a local, grass-roots movement to become a community catalyst partnering with other organizations to advance the public interest in this area. Learn more at gaviotacoastconservancy.org

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