Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s 14,000-square-foot plans to build a new home on two lots she bought last year in Montecito got a tentative green light from the Montecito Board of Architectural Review despite intense opposition from a neighbor who complained the new structure would block his views. It was the fourth time Paltrow’s Tollis Avenue proposal had gone before the board, and it won’t be the last.
Initially, the board appeared unanimously poised to send the design back to the drawing board for further modification, but after Paltrow’s architect Tony Spann — former chair of the Montecito Board of Architectural Review — spoke, three of the five boardmembers changed their minds. Spann argued vigorously that the elevations had already been reduced substantially. The designs — a two-story home with 12,000-square-feet of living space plus 2,100-square-feet of carport, gazebo, and guest house — secured conceptual approval last week, but the real detailed plans have yet to be submitted.
Opposing the project is neighbor Michael MacElhenny, son of the late Bernie MacElhenny, one of Santa Barbara’s more legendary and controversial developers. MacElhenny’s agents argued that the roofline of Paltrow’s 22-foot high structure will occlude his views, and they are pushing for further reductions.