Trading Naples

A week after receiving unfavorable feedback from Santa Barbara County supervisors, the authors of a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) feasibility study for the Santa Barbara Ranch found far more sympathetic ears at the Santa Barbara City Council meeting Tuesday night. With a pending application to build between 54 and 72 luxury estates on the oceanfront hills of Naples, open space advocates and environmentalists are urgently seeking a way to protect what many consider the gateway to the Gaviota Coast. The TDR plan would exchange some development rights from the 800-acre Naples area to city-owned property in downtown Santa Barbara and some county holdings. While county supervisors quickly dismissed the idea, city councilmembers were optimistic, offering advice on how to make TDR more palatable to the public and asking the county to reconsider it. Although the study identified four specific city areas as possible receiver sites — the Cota Street commuter parking lot, the Haley/Anacapa parking lot, the Wright Property, and the Redevelopment Agency property near Calle César Chávez — councilmembers agreed that more Naples land could be saved if more valuable receiver sites were chosen, such as hilltop or oceanfront areas. According to the study, 70 units built on the Cota Street parking lot site would generate $20 million, which would preserve 29 inland lots at Naples, or just two of the mansion bluff-top sites. Would-be Naples developer Matt Osgood has offered an 18-month grace period for a TDR process to be established. The county’s draft Environmental Impact Report on the project is scheduled for release in early May.

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