Construction is underway once again on the Knapp’s Castle property after county officials halted all progress earlier this month, claiming the project violated zoning requirements.

The privately owned landmark is located near East Camino Cielo Road in the Los Padres National Forest. The castle was built by Union Carbide founder George Owen Knapp, who purchased the plot in 1916.

Frances Holden bought the property in 1940 and invited opera singer Charlotte “Lotte” Lehmann — for whom Lotte Lehmann Hall on campus is named — to live there. Within weeks of finalizing these plans, a fire completely destroyed the residence.

In the 70 years since the fire, there have been no changes to the site and the remains have come to be known as Knapp’s Castle.

Steve Mason, Santa Barbara County’s Building and Safety Division Manager, said the county initially ordered a cease and desist because the construction violated zoning requirements.

Despite the initial hiatus, Mason said the property owner is cooperating with the county on zoning requirements.

“We have been working with one of the property owners who came to our office,” Mason said. “They explained they were trying to rectify some drainage issues and they were very cooperative with us.”

According to Mason, the owners are installing new stonework.

As of press time, the owners could not be reached for comment.

—Staff Report