A motion by 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall to accept one – and only one – environmental impact report (EIR) for the pending development of the Naples area of the Gaviota Coast was unanimously supported by the rest of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting yesterday.
The county had originally allowed property owners of the Naples area to assess the environmental impact of each piece of the development venture separately – dividing the project into “coastal” and “inland.” Applications for residential development permits in the Naples area have drawn attention from numerous environmental organizations that have collectively formed the Naples Coalition.
In a December 2002 press release from the Naples Coalition, the group protested the formation of a separate EIR for each permit.
“Piecemealing undermines assessment of the project’s cumulative impacts and deprives the public and decision-makers of information vital to making informed decisions,” the press release stated.
In response to this pressure, developer Matt Osgood, whose proposed projects for the area include the construction of 55-unit luxury homes, has agreed to perform one EIR for the entire property. Osgood has also agreed to put a hold on five pending applications until the EIR is complete.
A staff report presented to the board identified several zoning violations on the Naples property, including the widening of an agricultural road, the replacement of water lines and a soil stockpiling area. Osgood must obtain the necessary permits for these violations as well.
Osgood also agreed to check with the board of supervisors’ staff prior to any further agricultural development.
Representatives from the Sierra Club, Gaviota Coast Conservancy, Surfrider Foundation, National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Center, Citizens Planning Association, League of Women Voters and Citizens of Goleta Valley – organizations comprising the Naples Coalition – spoke in favor of one comprehensive EIR for the Naples property.
– Kristina Ackermann