by Ethan Stewart

More than six months behind schedule, the draft Environmental
Impact Report for the proposed development of Santa Barbara Ranch
was released late last week. The long-awaited report — compiled by
the URS Corporation — identifies several Class I (i.e. significant)
environmental impacts within Orange County developer Matt Osgood’s
plan to put 54 luxury homes on the 485-acre area popularly known as
Naples. Chief among the findings were concerns regarding the loss
of native grassland habitats and associated wildlife, specifically
on the coastal mesa area just south of Highway 101. Also identified
were Class I visual impacts to the 101 viewshed as well as various
inconsistencies with coastal land-use policies and comprehensive
land-use policies. Public comments on the report are being accepted
by the county from now through August 28, with a public hearing set
for the evening of July 27. Additionally, a public walk-through of
the site — complete with story poles on the sites of the proposed
homes — is being offered later this month.


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