by Ethan Stewart
More than six months behind schedule, the draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed development of Santa Barbara Ranch was released late last week. The long-awaited report — compiled by the URS Corporation — identifies several Class I (i.e. significant) environmental impacts within Orange County developer Matt Osgood’s plan to put 54 luxury homes on the 485-acre area popularly known as Naples. Chief among the findings were concerns regarding the loss of native grassland habitats and associated wildlife, specifically on the coastal mesa area just south of Highway 101. Also identified were Class I visual impacts to the 101 viewshed as well as various inconsistencies with coastal land-use policies and comprehensive land-use policies. Public comments on the report are being accepted by the county from now through August 28, with a public hearing set for the evening of July 27. Additionally, a public walk-through of the site — complete with story poles on the sites of the proposed homes — is being offered later this month.