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Makar Residential Project

October 2009 - Makar EIR Comments

 The Orange County developer that owns the two agricultural parcels and 25 Naples lots on eastern Gaviota Coast has proposed two massive residential complexes on the two large (64 and 77 acres).  The proposal is silent on any development of the Naples lots.

 The DEIR can be viewed at http://www.sbcountyplanning.org/projects/06cdh-00038/index.cfm

 The public comment period closes on November 3, 2009.  Comments may be submitted to Planning and Development Department staff at abell@co.santa-barbara.ca.us

 The project is a luxury housing development on agricultural lands, and is clearly, not an agricultural house.  The project is sited too close to the coastal bluff, includes offers to dedicate certain trails but does not include installation of any coastal trails or access to the beach.  Development is proposed on highly visible areas adversely affecting agricultural potential and biological resources. 

 Specific issues for public comment include:

 Inappropriate Project for the Highly Constrained Agricultural Parcels

  • o The proposed high-end luxury housing compounds are simply inappropriate for the property given its agricultural zoning, highly valued rural aesthetic, unstable geology, as well as the presence of critical wildlife habitats, prime soils, cultural resources, and public access rights.
  • o To avoid the Project's numerous Class 1 unavoidable environmental impacts the EIR should identify a conservation alternative that permanently protect all or a portion of the Project site, clustering or relocating proposed development to an appropriate off-site location.

Project Description Omits Adjacent Development

  • o In addition to the two lots this Project proposes to develop, the Project applicant owns 25 lots that are part of the adjacent "Naples Townsite."
  • o The development of at least ten homes on these 25 Naples lots was contemplated in a settlement agreement with the Coastal Commission and is reasonably foreseeable future development that must be evaluated in the EIR.
  • o The annexation of the 25 Naples lots to the Goleta Water District is part of the Project Description, but the DEIR fails to analyze the impacts of developing these additional lots and providing water to them in violation of CEQA.

Public Access: Loss of Existing Public Access to Naples Beach

  • o The public has used the Project site to view the ocean from various points and access the beach and Naples surf break for generations. The DEIR incorrectly claims there is a security presence that stop public use, which is not "unauthorized" but is an authorized right that has been gained by prescriptive use. The DEIR recognizes that any impairment of public's use of this established beach access will cause a Class 1 significant and unavoidable environmental impact.
  • o It is unacceptable that the DEIR identifies no alternatives or even mitigation measures that would avoid the loss of this established public beach access. The presence of massive houses and residential compounds will chill public use.
  • o Additional alternatives and mitigation measures must be developed which avoid this impact and keep the existing beach access available to the public.
  • o The County should develop a comprehensive public access program for eastern Gaviota Coast. Collaborative workshops between County planners, the landowner, interested members of public including environmental and recreational advocates, Parks Department staff, the Coastal Commission and key resource agencies are necessary to devise a solution for this site.