Local environmentalists are concerned that the last stretch of undeveloped land on the Southern California coastline faces the threat of commercialization.
The Sierra Club held a meeting at the Goleta Public Library on Monday night to educate people about threats to the Gaviota Coast and encourage activism against development. A portion of the coast, owned by Orange County developers, in accordance with ARCO, have continued planning for the Dos Pueblos project, which includes the construction of golf courses, a conference center and parking lots in a rural area of Santa Barbara County, just north of the Bacarra Resort.
Keith Zandona, Chapter Chair of the Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation, said the proposed golf course expands over 208 acres of undeveloped land and is the site of endangered species like the white-tailed kite, red-legged frog and Monarch butterfly.
“We have golf courses in this area that aren’t doing well; we don’t need another one,” Zandona said. “It’s a wilderness surf experience, one of the last left on our coast.”
The plans to build the golf course have been in dispute between the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Dept. and ARCO for 10 years. The project will be further discussed at the November California Coastal Commission meeting in San Diego.
The proposed golf course would cover an area where over 150 brown pelicans roost and more than 90 young seals inhabit.
ARCO has proposed a habitat conservation plan to preserve the endangered species. Zandona said there are two pairs of white-tailed kites remaining in the area. He also said the CCC told the developers they need to allow 50 acres of untouched land per pair, leaving approximately 108 acres of the original coastline to be developed, cutting the size of the proposed golf course in half.
The Sierra Club and Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation urge people to act against the proposed development by writing letters to the CCC and participating in a neighbor-to-neighbor education day to tell the community about the development threats to the Gaviota Coast this Saturday.
“A lot of people talk the talk but don’t walk the walk; now is your chance to walk the walk,” said Vice Chapter Chair of the Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation Tom Phillips.
Other related issues, presented by the Acting Chair of Los Padres Sierra Club Ada Babine, included the proposed development of the Naples site, west of the Dos Pueblos property. Plans show the construction of 56 large houses with 10,000 square feet allotted for each home, proposed by another Orange County developer.