The City of Carpinteria is positioning itself to acquire an additional 27 acres of oceanfront property located between City Hall and the 53 acres of developed open space better known as the “Carp Bluffs” for about $1.6 million. The owners of the 27 acres got so far behind on their property tax payments that the County of Santa Barbara was prepared to sell the land at a public auction at the courthouse steps this Tuesday.
Carpinteria City officials put the county on notice they wanted to buy the land, and by so doing, squelched the scheduled auction. City officials will have roughly 90 days to secure the funds to pay off the property taxes owed by the land’s owner, Carpinteria Partners.
Carpinteria Mayor Al Clark said he’s hoping private donors will kick into gear to help defray the costs involved — as they did in raising the $3 million needed to secure the Carpinteria Bluffs over a decade ago. Clark said the additional real estate would be used as open space and public park land, suggesting that the golf driving range there now could probably remain. He said that a portion of the property includes the public trail that runs above the seal rookery, a popular visitor destination.
Although Carpinteria is not overflowing with cash reserves, Clark said the funds exist to buy the property. He noted that Carpinteria Partners acquired the land only after the previous owners had fallen so far behind in their property tax payments that the land was sold off at a forced auction.