Hollister Ranch Parcel 36 Appeal


May 1, 2019

Commissioners Carole Groom and Steve Padilla appealed a Santa Barbara County approved coastal development permit for the construction of a swimming pool and in-ground spa on Parcel No. 36 on Hollister Ranch. The parcel contains an existing home, guest house and barn. This appeal is part of an ongoing effort to restore long overdue public access to the coast at Hollister Ranch. Staff recommended approval of the development with the condition that a $5,000 public access in-lieu fee be assessed – one that the County did not assess based on their interpretation that it only need be applied per parcel, rather than per permit, as intended in Coastal Act sections 30610.3 and 30610.8. The Gaviota Coastal Trail Alliance urged the Commission to deny this development on the grounds that the $5,000 fee is insufficient to find the development consistent with the Coastal Act. The County’s local coastal program prohibits new development in Hollister Ranch unless public access is provided. The Commission unanimously agreed and denied the permit on the basis that it was inconsistent with the Coastal Act and Santa Barbara County LCP’s public access provisions. With this action, the Commission sent the message that until public access is provided at Hollister Ranch, new development is not allowed.

Why You Should Care

The Hollister Ranch Homeowners Association has not made any effort to create a public accessway to the coast through Hollister Ranch since it was directed to do so by the California Legislature decades ago. The nominal $5,000 fee is relatively insignificant and has proven to be insufficient in providing access and mitigating the effects of subdividing and developing Hollister Ranch. Further development should not be allowed without the restoration of public access in a timely manner.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

Commissioner Carole Groom stated that we can not continue to approve projects in Hollister Ranch without public access. Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh motioned to deny the permit. The Commission found that this permit would be inconsistent with LCP policy 2-15 because it does not meet section 30610.3 of the Coastal Act. The permit was unanimously denied.

Organizations Opposed

Gaviota Coastal Trail Alliance (Coastwalk, Gaviota Coast Conservancy, Santa Barbara County Trails Council and California Coastal Protection Network)

Decision Type

De Novo Appeal

Staff Recommendation

Approval with special conditions