Newsletter 18 Summer 2014

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New website

After months of hard work, GaviotaCoastConservancy.org has a completely brand-new look! Our website is now more user-friendly, more organized, and more social. Optimized for tablets and mobile devices, it will continue to provide you with the latest news on the Gaviota Coast. Collaboration and group participation is much easier now. Take a look and let us know what you think! 

President’s Update

All of the coastal properties between the Bacara and El Capitan State Park, with the exception of a small holding just to the east of El Capitan, are actively being marketed or are engaged in development proposals. Here’s a few of the specifics from east to west (Bacara to El Capitan).

The coastal parcels immediately to the west of the Bacara known as “8501 Hollister Ave,” encompassing Driftwood Cove, has submitted a development plan that includes a bluff top house and a coastal trail dedication. We are in conversations with the owner’s representatives to seek community enhancements to their proposal.

We are engaged in settlement meetings with the County and the principals at Paradiso del Mare to resolve the major issues of our CEQA lawsuit against those parties. (Paradiso is to the immediate east of Naples.) The substance of these meetings is confidential but we are attempting to resolve significant issues.

On another front at Paradiso, we filed a suit against the Coastal Commission at the end of May. The Commission closed the public hearing on our appeal of the Paradiso approval and then continued to negotiate with the developer from the dais. We were not provided with the new information in advance or allowed to comment on proposed changes to the project before the Commission cast its vote. In the confusion of the vote, we lost. It was a tawdry affair, undemocratic, and an affront to the progressive heritage of the Commission.

At Naples the owner, First Bank, has appointed Mark Massara as their new representative to market the property. While Mark has championed the environment and community rights in other fights and issues, here he is working to advance development at Naples. The Bank has been unwilling to work with the community to achieve a conservation outcome and is instead moving ahead to prepare the property for development. The County’s 2008 approvals remain deeply flawed, and the Coastal Commission has directed the Bank to restudy various elements of the project and the environmental conditions, including a new comprehensive biological inventory, which is expected to take a year to prepare. In the meantime, the entire Santa Barbara Ranch property remains open for public visitation. The Conservancy and the Naples Coalition remains highly engaged and available to achieve a suitable workout and preservation of Naples.

Dos Pueblos Ranch was reportedly in escrow earlier this summer, but the deal fell out.

Finally, the Planning Commission took public comments on July 30 on the Revised Final EIR (environmental impact report) for Las Varas Ranch (just east of El Capitan). The Las Varas project is designed to increase the developability of the Ranch for luxury residential development, despite its agricultural zoning. Further, the Project routes the Coastal Trail incorrectly, in some places north of Highway 101 and not on the coastal bluff as may be easily accomplished.

Teed up later this fall is the public comment period on the County’s proposed expansion and repurposing of Taijiguas Landfill followed by the Gaviota Community Plan EIR.

The development and planning issues on the coast have never been so numerous and active. GCC is stepping up its efforts to respond to these threats, but needs your help. Please make a generous tax deductible donation and consider attending one of our monthly volunteer meetings, where a dedicated group of individuals are helping save the coast and having fun too.


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We hope adventure seekers will join us on Sunday, October 12, for a kayak paddle from Haskell’s Beach to Naples and back. Aquasports of Goleta will deliver kayaks and equipment to the seashore and their guides will shove us off and accompany us to our destination and back – about 4 miles roundtrip. For the last three years, we have experienced beautiful weather and amazing paddling conditions. You do not need to have kayaking experience to participate but must have good swimming skills and comfort in the ocean.

Kayak rentals are $100/person and ALL proceeds go to benefit Naples Coalition because Eric Little and his outfitters wholeheartedly support the work we do. They donate their time. Click here to reserve a kayak. Advance registration is required by October 8.

We can certainly recommend them for other kayak adventures. For more information contact Janet Koed at (805) 683-6631 or email info@savenaples.org. We also have a special rate for those who bring their own kayaks or paddleboards.


Orella Ranch Work Party

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When our musician friend Jack Johnson (local resident, and UCSB alumnus) comes to town there is always a good reason to celebrate. Not only did he bless us with an incredible 2 night run at the Santa Barbara Bowl, but as usual he shared his good fortune through advocating and supporting issues that matter. This time around his organization “All At Once” focused on sustainable and local food production as well as education and action around reducing our dependency on plastics.

When Jack and the “All At Once” crew contacted the Naples Coalition about wanting to host a preconcert event that focused on sustainable agriculture I was brought into the fold. As a 6th generation land steward on the Gaviota Coast and a long time board member of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, I have been trying to learn, teach and implement agricultural practices that aggregate our precious resources rather than degragate them. With the opportunity to host a large work party I wasted no time in preparing for implementing the next phase in the development of one of our agricultural fields. My training, philosophy and guiding inspiration is rooted in the design science referred to as Permaculture.

Read more

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Channel Islands Restoration (CIR) is a Carpinteria based non-profit organization, and we are well known for our many habitat restoration projects on the Channel Islands. Fewer people know that we have restored habitat at several locations on the Gaviota Coast, including planting thousands of natives, removing miles of Arundo from Refugio Creek and removing invasive plants at the Arroyo Hondo Preserve and Refugio State Beach.

CIR grew out of a volunteer project to remove invasive plants on Santa Cruz Island in the early 2000s. Since then, and with the help of more than 6,000 volunteers, CIR has worked on all eight of the Channel Islands and at nearly 50 locations on the coastal mainland from Orcutt to San Pedro. CIR specializes in removing invasive plants in sensitive habitats, particularly where they encroach on threatened or endangered plant and animal species. We also construct nurseries and grow native plants that are used to revegetate restoration sites.

Read more

Jack Johnson Concert

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Jack Johnson testified to the importance of protecting the Gaviota Coast by inviting Naples Coalition and Gaviota Coast Conservancy volunteers to table in his ALL AT ONCE village at his September 1st concert at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. Jack also offered us $2,500 in matching funds which we have succeeded in raising.

Jack is a true friend of the Gaviota Coast.


Thanks to our volunteer newsletter contributors: Dave Basso, Nancy Black, Cheryl Fontana, Steve Forsell, Janet Koed, Phil McKenna, Megan Miley, Ken Owen and Guner Tautrim.


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