Montecito Water Board Settles Lawsuit with Polo Padrone

Pat Nesbitt
Paul Wellman (file)

Judge Thomas Anderle approved a negotiated settlement between the Montecito Water District and Santa Barbara polo padrone Pat Nesbitt (pictured), who launched a class-action crusade when the district denied him an agricultural water permit for his polo fields and made him pay the more expensive residential water rates. Nesbitt contended that his personal polo field was, in fact, a sod farm. After the water district all but abolished the special rates for agriculture, Nesbitt filed a lawsuit against the district on behalf of all ag operators who may have paid more for their water than what it cost the district to provide. Nesbitt prevailed, and Montecito agreed to pay up to $1.8 million plus another $500,000 in legal fees.

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