Rancho Cuarta - Hollister Ranch Appeal


October 1, 2018

Commissioners Aaron Peskin and Carole Groom appealed two Santa Barbara County combined permits for development in Hollister Ranch. The permits include construction of a single-family home with a guesthouse, ancillary structures and replacement of a bridge. In its approval of the two subject permits, the County required one payment of the $5,000 in-lieu fee specified in Coastal Act Section 30610.8.Coastal Act section 30610.8 was created by legislation to mandate an in-lieu fee program to fund the “expeditious” and “timely” implementation of a coastal access program at Hollister Ranch. However, to date, implementation of public access to the Hollister Ranch coastline has not been fulfilled, either through use of the in-lieu fees collected or pursuant to a permit or action taken by the County. Hollister Ranch includes a 30-mile stretch of coastline between Jalama County Park and Gaviota State Park where no public access currently exists.

Given that the in-lieu fee is intended to be per permit, not per parcel, and that the in-lieu fee is unlikely to result in timely or expeditious implementation of public access, Coastal Commission staff found that the County’s permits raise Substantial Issue with the Coastal Act and the County’s LCP. Commissioners agreed and unanimously found Substantial Issue. A de novo hearing will follow at a future hearing.

Why You Should Care

The Hollister Ranch coastline provides unique visual and recreational opportunities and habitat values, and none of these coastal resources are currently available to members of the public; rather, they are available only to those owning land along this stretch of coast, their guests, or those who travel to this area by boat and remain solely on public tidelands on the beach.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

Commissioner Aaron Peskin shared some compelling numbers and showcased excellent mathematical skills, pointing out that California is 168 years old and section 30610.8 has existed for 36 years - in other words a requirement for access at Hollister Ranch has existed for over 20 percent of California’s incorporation as a state and yet access still does not exist.

Organizations Opposed

Decision Type

Substantial Issue

Staff Recommendation

Substantial Issue Exists

Coastal Act Policy