WHAT: Hearing at the Board of Supervisors covering three Gaviota Coast projects: the
Las Varas Ranch Project, Santa Barbara Ranch/Naples Development Agreement Transfer, and funding for the Resource Recovery Project at Tajiguas Landfill
WHEN: Tuesday July 7, 2015 (time TBD, likely to start at approximately 9:30AM)
WHERE: Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, 105 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara
Details will be posted closer to the hearing on the Board of Supervisors webpage at https://santabarbara.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Written comments for the Board may be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAS VARAS RANCH PROJECT:
This proposed subdivision and lot line adjustment would divide up a working GaviotaCoast ranch that has been in agricultural production since the 1700’s, to maximize the land’s value for estate residential development. The Project includes residential development envelopes on seven lots, ranging in size from 2.5 to 5 acres, and a private water system and roadway infrastructure to serve 14 homes (1 primary residence, and 1 guest house on each of the 7 lots). The Project would intensify residential development potential in the coastal zone, by shifting one lot from the inland to the coastal side of Highway 101. Two of the residential development envelopes are proposed on the coastal bluff, immediately above Edward’s Point and just down coast from El CapitanStateBeach. Easements for public trails offered by the Applicant are inappropriately located, and very unlikely to provide viable public access in the foreseeable future.
The County Planning Commission voted to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny the Las Varas Ranch Project because it is inconsistent with County policies protecting agricultural land, scenic views, and biological resources. Please ask the Board of Supervisors to follow the Planning Commission’s recommendation and deny the Las Varas Ranch Project.
TALKING POINTS – LAS VARAS RANCH PROJECT:
- The Las Varas Ranch Project is inconsistent with County policies protecting agricultural land:
- The Project would facilitate the sale of individual lots to different owners, fragmenting the ownership of lands currently owned and managed as a single viable agricultural operation.
- Individual lots are not agriculturally viable, and collective management of the ranching operation cannot effectively be enforced with CC&Rs as proposed.
- Proposed development envelopes will enable spill-over of residential uses that will adversely impact the agricultural operation.
- The Project is inconsistent with County policies protecting visual resources:
- The Project intensifies residential development potential in the iconic viewshed and Rural Historic Landscape on Las Varas Ranch visible from Highway 101, and on the coastal bluff visible from the railroad, beach, and ocean.
- Up to two-acres of contiguous residential development and additional structures including horse stables and agricultural employee dwellings will degrade scenic coastal views across these open and historically significant landscapes.
- The Project is inconsistent with County biological resource protection policies:
- New residential uses including introduced pets and equestrian use will adversely impact sensitive native plant communities and sensitive wildlife species including California red-legged frog, southwestern pond turtle, and many species of sensitive raptors and bats.
- Future development of large rural estates including unlimited amounts of agriculturally related structures such as horse stables and greenhouses will fragment foraging areas, interrupt wildlife movement, and degrade native vegetation.
SANTA BARBARA RANCH/NAPLES DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT TRANSFER:
The former Naples developer Matt Osgood is back - this time backed by apartment developer Standard Portfolios and foreign capital. Standard Portfolios, which acquired the Santa Barbara Ranch (SBR) property from First Bank in January, is requesting that the Board consent to a Transfer Agreement by which First Bank’s rights and obligations under the Inland Development Agreement are transferred to Standard Portfolios. At the hearing the Board must consider whether the prospective developer has the financial ability and reputation to assume the responsibilities associated with the development agreement and project approvals.
The Santa Barbara Ranch Project is the wrong project for this exceptional coastal property. Please ask the Board of Supervisors to deny the transfer request, terminate the Inland Development Agreement and take the necessary steps to ensure that the developer pursues a different project.
TALKING POINTS - SBR DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT TRANSFER:
- The future of Naples is exceptionally important to the public, given its unmatched scenic, ecological, cultural and recreational value.
- The Board should deny Standard Portfolios’ request to consent to the Transfer Agreement.
- Standard Portfolios’ submittal does not provide sufficient evidence of its financial condition, history and reputation to demonstrate that the developer can fulfill the obligations of the Development Agreement.
- Matt Osgood, a key member of the Standard Portfolios’ team, orchestrated the 2008 approvals of the financially infeasible project that went into foreclosure in 2010, leading to First Bank ownership of SBR. Mr. Osgood’s reputation casts doubt on the ability of Standard Portfolios to fulfill the obligations of the Development Agreement.
- Standard Portfolios has not demonstrated the ability to develop the Project consistent with the Development Agreement. Several changes in circumstances indicate that the approved Project cannot be developed including the current drought and changes at Dos Pueblos Ranch (DPR) affecting the Agricultural Conservation Easement (ACE).
- The Project remains financially infeasible as approved.
- The Board should terminate the Inland Development Agreement.
- The Inland Development Agreement is not effective until the ACE is recorded, and accordingly may be terminated by the Board.
- The Inland Development Agreement should be terminated because conditions have changed that affect the ability of the developer to perform the obligations under the Development Agreement.
- The Naples property requires a sensitively designed Project that strikes an appropriate balance between open space preservation, public access, agricultural resource protection, and residential development. The 2008 approvals are fatally flawed and the developer must start again with a more appropriate proposal.
RESOURCE RECOVERY PROJECT AT TAJIGUAS LANDFILL FUNDING:
The Board will receive a report from Staff on proposed expansion of solid waste activities at Tajiguas Landfill, and give direction regarding the use of public funding for the proposed Resource Recovery Project (RRP). The RRP proposes to both expand the industrial facilities at Tajiguas Landfill, and extend the landfill’s lifetime. New industrial facilities including a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and Anaerobic Digester (AD) are very costly and their economic viability is uncertain. Until now, a private company (Mustang) has borne the financial risks associated with the Project.
The GaviotaCoast should be protected against further industrialization. Tell the Board of Supervisors to NOT use public funding to expand and extend use of the Tajiguas Landfill.
TALKING POINTS – RRP FUNDING:
- The County should not expand and intensify operations at the Tajiguas Landfill. The proposed new facilities will have severe adverse impacts to the GaviotaCoast.
- Responsible and timely closure of Tajiguas Landfill is imperative to safeguarding the coastal resources of the GaviotaCoast.
- The County is going further out on a limb in considering using public funds for what had been described as a privately-funded project. The need and basis for this material change in financing has not been publicly disclosed in advance of the hearing.
- From the outset, the RRP was promised as financially self-supporting and would be constructed and operated at no cost to the public. Public funds should not be risked for this ill-conceived and financially unsustainable project.