Eminent Domain Proceedings Commence Against Waterfront Property

The City Council voted to initiate condemnation proceedings against Virginia Castagnola-Hunter, owner of a key waterfront property needed for the construction of a new Cabrillo Boulevard bridge to cross Mission Creek. Until recently, that property was the site of the eye-catching lighthouse associated with Rusty’s Pizza. Before that, however, it was the iconic Castagnola’s seafood restaurant, started by her father, George V. Castagnola, who for decades reigned as one of Santa Barbara’s most influential movers-and-shakers in local business, political, and philanthropic circles. Castagnola-Hunter and City Hall have been haggling over a fair market price since 2009 for the property, but the two sides remain very far apart. The eminent domain proceedings will put the fair-price question in the hands of a judge. In the meantime, however, Castagnola-Hunter has allowed the construction work on the bridge to begin.

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