After decades of contentious and expensive legal battles, years of planning hearings and community activism, and hours upon hours of public testimony, the controversial coastal development of Naples was approved by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, October 21. After a brief 15-minute presentation from Santa Barbara Ranch developer Matt Osgood, the supervisors briefly explained their positions and voted 3-2 in favor of the project, causing much uproar from the hundreds of activists who have fought against the project tooth-and-nail for years.
The vote fell into the expected camps. Approving the more than 70 blufftop and foothill mansions were the two North County Supervisors Joni Gray and Joe Centeno as well as Brooks Firestone, whose 3rd District straddles the conservative north and liberal south, and includes the Gaviota Coast where Naples is located. Voting “no” were 1st District Supervisor Salud Carabjal and the 2nd District’s Janet Wolf. Just before the vote, some believed that Centeno, whose 5th District covers most of Santa Maria and the adjacent areas, might change his vote, but he instead approved the project with his head down.
Next up for the project is a trip to the California Coastal Commission. Tune back into Independent.com for more reporting and analysis of this momentous decision later tonight.