NEW DEVELOPMENTS

With his deadline clock loudly ticking away, developer
Bill Levy
has initiated preliminary construction efforts
at the lower State Street site where his proposed
Ritz-Carlton time-share condos may someday be
built. If Levy fails to begin construction in earnest by December
12, his building permits are dead and the project for which he
fought for decades is history. Thus far, city officials are
noncommittal on whether or not the work Levy plans to do in the
next few weeks – dewatering the ground underneath the building
site – is sufficient to meet the deadline. Meanwhile, Levy is the
subject of a foreclosure action by Mountain Funding, which has
given Levy until November 29 to pay off the $30 million it says he
owes. Mountain Funding hopes to sell Levy’s project to one of three
qualified builders, but no deal is likely as long as Levy remains
in the picture.

Biltmore Hotel owner Ty Warner appealed to the
County Board of supervisors for permission to adorn a stairway to
Butterfly Beach, as well as the sidewalk next to the seawall, with
brick that matches the Biltmore. The Montecito Planning Commission
(MPC) had rejected the matching architectural details, saying they
would give the area a private look that might discourage the public
from using the beach. However, the supervisors unanimously approved
the Biltmore’s appeal before a boardroom full of Montecitans who
had come to praise Warner and to accuse the MPC of
overregulation.

The battle for the dispossessed continued this week as
UCSB activists renewed their efforts to help the
former tenants of the Cedarwood Apartments in Isla Vista. After
reaching 17 individual settlements and erecting a temporary
shantytown to house students who sacrificed their homes to the
Isla Vista families, lead advocate Vanessa
Villasenor and others appeared at a City Council meeting Tuesday
morning to ask the county for money to aid the families in
relocating. So far, each family has been awarded $800, the
equivalent of their security deposits, and more time to relocate,
with a November 30 deadline.

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