A complex scheme designed to allow development now slated for the Naples subdivision to be transferred to points as far south as the City of Santa Barbara – as part of a regional effort to preserve the Gaviota coast’s open vistas – got a mixed reception at the Santa Barbara City Council Tuesday. Councilmembers Grant House, Das Williams, Helene Schneider, and Iya Falcone generally praised efforts to craft a county ordinance to allow the transfer of development rights from one spot to another in hopes of preserving the environment, while acknowledging the proposed measure – sponsored by Santa Barbara County – might be a little mushy for their tastes. Currently, Naples developer Mark Osgood has the legal entitlement to build 72 estates.
Mayor Marty Blum countered that until Goleta, Montecito and Carpinteria also agreed to offer up “receptor” sites to facilitate the transfer of development from Naples, she was not interested. Blum said she didn’t want the City of Santa Barbara to get stuck holding the bag. Councilmember Dale Francisco said any scheme that threatened to increase the density of Santa Barbara’s neighborhoods would be “fought tooth and nail,” and vowed to “be one of the ones fighting it.” Williams said he wasn’t pushing increased densities so much as the ability to levy fees on developers a fee anytime their properties are “upzoned” and using the proceeds to buy down a percentage of the development slated for Naples. “Some people have claimed I like to extort money from developers. That is absolutely correct,” he said. And some of the more reputable developers will gladly be extorted for a good cause.”