Can Naples Be Transferred?

Debate Returns to Transfer of Development Rights at Gaviota Gateway

In the ever un-sexy universe of land use policy, the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) concept is a never-before-seen though long-rumored aberration of beauty. Offering up the ability to “transfer” development out of sensitive, scenic areas into more urban landscapes without shortchanging the landowner or developer, TDRs have the potential to be the ultimate arrow in the Santa Barbara conservationist’s quiver. That is, of course, if an actual TDR protocol existed.

As Orange County developer Matt Osgood’s plan for 73 luxury homes at the gateway of the Gaviota Coast crawls through the approval process, Santa Barbara County Planning Commissioners spent several hours last week exploring the feasibility of the TDR concept and how it relates to Osgood’s Santa Barbara Ranch, popularly known by its historic name Naples. In the end, the commission shied away from either a definitive thumbs up or thumbs down, opting instead to have their staff explore the issue more thoroughly and return in a month with a clearer picture of how TDRs would work on the 485-acre property.

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Testifying before the planning commission on Wednesday, September 26, Marc Chitylo, an attorney for the conservation-urging Naples Coalition, summed up the significance of TDR debate when he explained, “Where Naples goes is going to be a harbinger of where the rest of the Gaviota Coast goes.”

For the rest of this story, see tomorrow’s printed edition of The Independent.

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