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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Monday, December 17, 2012

Decision Allowing Development at Naples Appealed by Local Groups

The Environmental Defense Center (EDC), Naples Coalition and Surfrider Foundation filed a Notice of Appeal in state court, marking the beginning of another chapter in the long-running dispute over residential development at Naples.


The appeal challenges a July 2012 decision by the Santa Barbara Superior Court that upheld the County’s 2008 approval of a 71-unit McMansion subdivision.

“This appeal is necessary to preserve the public’s interest,” said Sandy Lejeune of Surfrider. “We will continue to do everything possible to save Naples in its entirety.”

The groups’ original lawsuit alleged that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors’ approval of the Santa Barbara Ranch Project and the certification of its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the California Coastal Act, and other state and local laws.

Naples is home to rare species, sensitive habitats, cultural and historic resources, breathtaking views and active agriculture. It is the eastern gateway to Gaviota and a buffer against suburban sprawl.

“The approval of a 71-unit luxury residential subdivision on the rural Gaviota Coast will cause significant and unavoidable environmental impacts and forever alter the rural character of eastern Gaviota,” said Greg Helms, President of the Naples Coalition.

Since the 2008 approvals, the original Project applicant lost Santa Barbara Ranch to Project lenders in foreclosure. First Bank of Missouri, which is now trying to sell the property through its holding company SBRHC, Inc., has entertained several interested parties, but each withdrew after undertaking “due diligence” review of the property and recognizing the extraordinary challenges to any form of development at Naples.

The Superior Court decision only affected the inland area of Santa Barbara Ranch. Any proposed development south of Highway 101 must still be reviewed by the California Coastal Commission.

“We are committed to preserving this land,” said EDC Staff Attorney Nathan Alley. “It’s just a matter of time.”

About the Environmental Defense Center:

The Environmental Defense Center protects and enhances the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action and works primarily within Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Since 1977, EDC has empowered community based organizations to advance environmental protection. Program areas include protecting coast and ocean resources, open spaces and wildlife, and human and environmental health. EDC has represented Surfrider Foundation in opposition to the Naples development project since 1999. www.environmentaldefensecenter.org

About The Naples Coalition:

The Naples Coalition is a Santa Barbara County, CA-based public benefit corporation with representation by local non-profit groups including the Citizens Planning Association of Santa Barbara County, Gaviota Coast Conservancy, League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara County, Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club, Santa Barbara Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, Santa Barbara Chapter of the Audubon Society and Santa Barbara Community Action Network. The Naples Coalition is dedicated to the preservation of the rural character of the Naples property on the Gaviota coast. www.savenaples.org

About Surfrider Foundation:

Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education. The Santa Barbara Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation was founded in 1990 to protect local beaches, coastal areas, and water quality. One of Surfrider Foundation’s priority campaigns is to protect the Gaviota Coast, including Naples.www.surfrider.org/santabarbara

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