Coral Casino Lawsuit Shot Down

Cynthia Ziegler’s Appeal Found to Have No Merit by 2nd District

Cynthia Ziegler, a Coral Casino member who for nearly four years has organized resistance to Ty Warner’s remodel of the historic beach and swim club, lost another round in court on Tuesday. coralcasino72.jpg The 2nd District Court of Appeals in Ventura issued an opinion that found no merit in the Ziegler-led Coral Casino Preservation Committee’s (CCPC) appeal of a decision by the County of Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors favorable to Warner. See the decision in Word document form here. (The accompanying painting is by Santa Barbara artist B.J. Stapen. See more of her work at

The CCPC appeal contended the Warner plan had significant impact on the historical fabric of the Coral Casino and that CCPC offered a better, less damaging, alternative. However, the Appeals Court rejected the CCPC alternative. The court wrote, “The CCPC alternative would not restore the building to its original footprint or restore the original view corridor from the pool area…the CCPC alternative would not offer such amenities as a members -only area and a kitchen on the same floor as the restaurant… Based on these and other omissions, the CCPC alternative would not meet many of the project objectives and is not feasible.”

The Appeals Court also denied the CCPC argument that a safety railing violated the Montecito Community Plan height restriction, saying the guardrail was “an architectural projection and not a roofed structure.” In its summary, the appeal court stated, “the Board of Supervisors did not abuse its discretion when it found the CCPC alternative was infeasible and the Warner project was consistent with the Montecito Community Plan. The CCPC’s petition is denied.”

Numerous calls to Ziegler and her attorney were not returned, however a statement from Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts said CCPC has the option to appeal to the Supreme Court. “To date Ms. Ziegler has appealed decisions by the Montecito Planning Commission, the Montecito Board of Architectural Review, the Historic Landmarks Advisory Committee, the Board of Supervisor, the California Coastal Commission, the Santa Barbara Superior Court,” the statement said. “In each case she was denied. We really do hope this is the end of it.”

Warner’s spokesperson Greg Rice said the Appeals Court held CCPC responsible for the administrative expenditures of the appeal, including those of Warner, the County of Santa Barbara, and the Coral Casino Membership Committee. He estimates those expenses to be just over $5,000. In spite of the court holdups, Warner team has moved ahead with construction of the Coral since October and is expects the remodeled pool area to be reopened by July.

SUE BURROWS PICKED FOR MPC:: Supervisor Salud Carbajal informed Montage that Sue Burrows will be appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Montecito Planning Commissioner Bob Meghreblian. He said she was chosen from a group of applicants who submitted applications during a prior selection process. She will be seated on January 9.

Burrows, a 35-year resident of Montecito holds a JD from the Santa Barbara College of Law and is best known as past president of the League of Women Voters. She’s also been vice president and Land Use Committee chair of the Citizens Planning Association and the foreperson for the county’s Grand Jury in 1989. She also served as a director of the Montecito Association and a director of the Homeowners Defense Fund.

Supervisor Carbajal said he would hold an open recruitment period for Dick Thielscher’s seat, which was also vacated this week. Because Carbajal wants to allow for a good selection of applications and time for the ensuing interviews, he said he does not believe that he will appoint a new commissioner until the February 21 meeting of the commission.

The Thielscher opening was posted today at the County and will remain posted for 10 days. Information about the position and/or the application process may be obtained Supervisor Carbajal office, 568-2186.

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