Goleta City Council’s unanimous vote against even studying whether to develop Bishop Ranch shows that the city is

Delusional, clinging desperately to an obsolete image of itself as semi-rural. 21% 49 votes
Visionary, dedicated to urban agriculture. 78% 184 votes
233 total votes


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Nice vision, but the land is not being used for agriculture. Serious question: is that because it is not economic to do so or because the owner paid too much and has visions of development? Fact-based responses only, please.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2011 at 8:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr Keston does not own the property, he has an option to buy it from University Exchange Corp if he can get a zoning change and permits.
UEC bought the property in 1957, at that time it was zoned residential and highway commercial.
In 1980 the county put it outside of the urban boundary line and rezoned it for agriculture. There is no record of appeal or complaint by UEC of this action
In 1993 the county moved it back in the urban boundary but retained the Ag zoning. Some say they agreed to review it in ten years.
In 2002 the Goleta formed and adopted the county's zoning.
Mr Keston acquired his option ten years ago when it was zoned ag and had been for eight years. He should have no expectations the the zoning might or could be changed.
The City of Goleta reviewed it thre years ago and Bishop Ranch LLC 2000 pulled the application when they believed the Planning Department would recopmmend against the conversion.
They had anopther review again this week when the City Council rsoundingly said no.

As for Economic development rights, UEC or their agent could build six estate house on 6 forty acre parcels, or 6 forty acre farms, or farm the whole thing.
It is uneconomical to farm because UEC sold or transfered the majority of their water rights. Some went to the Camino Real shopping center and more was transfered to the rest of the ranch north of Cathedral Oaks.
Ag water is cheaper than residential water so that is why they say it is not economically viable. At this time they retain 50 acre feet per year which is enough for the 6 estate sites.
The money to be made is in the re-zone. As is without water my guess is the property is only worth $10 million. But what are 1,200 lots worth? Without improvements perhaps $120 million? That means a re-zone puts over a hundred million in their pockets without building a thing, yet the city would receive all the impacts, tax deficit and congestion.
Mr Keston may be back of perhaps he will drop his option in that he has been resoundingly tole no.
He may sue the city but I believe the courts will find he still retains all economic development rights he could expect and legally is owed under our zoning laws..
There is no law mandating zoning change because the owner desires it. Anymore than I could ask to rezone my house to a pig farm The law says I may ask but it also gives the City the right to say no.

richardfoster (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2011 at 5:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wish there were a few more choices...

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2011 at 6:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks for the data, richardfoster. Sounds like the man gambled and lost.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
September 26, 2011 at 10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Keston's whole motivation is to exercise his option and make a financial killing. He defines greedy developer, leaving the City and County (taxpayers) to pay for all the services Keston's development will need, like fire, police, sewer, energy, ect., not to mention the traffic, pollution, and lower quality of life everyone else who lives here would have to endure.

Take note of the politicians who took money from Keston and the people who supported Keston (Michael Bennett, Eric Onnen, Roger Aceves, Steve Cushman, Kristen Amyx, Guisela Esparza, Peter Jordano, Urban McLellan). They are the ones who should not be trusted in the future after supporting such a special interest developer.

Hopefully Schwartz, Falcone, and Murrillo will learn a lesson from this and back off their pro-growth agenda for neighboring Santa Barbara.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 26, 2011 at 3:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If the City of Goleta wants urban ag there, that is great, they should raise the money and purchase the land.

Ag land is generally not inside cities, but under county jurisdiction.

Odd, though, how people who purchased homes built by greedy developers don't raze them and return their land to its pre-Columbian state because they were built by... irresponsible greedy developers. They only see the speck in Keston's eye and avoid the plank in their own.

snugspout (anonymous profile)
September 27, 2011 at 4:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Snugspout misses the point of zoning.
Bishop Ranch has been ag both in and outside of the urban boundary.
The facts are one cannot raze ones own house without a permit and one cannot farm residential land without a re-zone to Ag.
We all agree to live under zoning laws. (Unless you believe in anarchy where anyone can do whatever they want.) The consequences of which there are limits upon all of our "property rights"
Do you think your neighbor should be able to go five stories and quadroplex his house, if he wants to? Is the City denying him his "rights"?
The question is not whether a developer is greedy or not greedy, but whether he accepts the zoning laws of the community he wishes to operate in. Does he respect the will of the community or will he chooses to use law suits to cudgel Goleta into giving him whatever he wants?
Zoning change is not a "right", Mr Keston and any citizen may ask, but by consent we live under the rule of law. Our community and the city have a well established legal right to say no to any request for a change in zoning.
Only if Mr Keston can show the City has taken some action to deny him the development rights UEC holds under existing zoning, does he have legal recourse.
He can farm it, except UEC sold and transfered their water rights (which is their choice as ownners) or they can develop 6 forty acre parcels.

richardfoster (anonymous profile)
September 27, 2011 at 7:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bravo Mr. Richard Foster. Thank you for your analysis.

4Oceans (anonymous profile)
September 29, 2011 at 1:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Agreed. Richard Foster did a fine job explaining the circumstances in an unbiased manner.

Thank you!

subscriber (anonymous profile)
October 31, 2011 at 4:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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