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Santa Barbara city planners review permits for Bellosguardo mansion

Beth Farnsworth/KEYT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif - Santa Barbara City Planners are poring over two permits for Bellosguardo, also known as the Clark Estate, a private mansion overlooking East Beach and the Andree Clark Bird Refuge.

The late Huguette Clark, a reclusive copper heiress, owned the home until she died in 2011 in a New York hospital room, where she lived out her last decades. Clark was weeks shy of her 105th birthday.

The Bellosguardo Foundation was created to oversee the 23-acre property Clark bequeathed to the Santa Barbara community. Her wish was to see the city landmark as a place where the public could enjoy international art, music and culture.

There have been many roadblocks in the process of making Clark's wishes a reality.

Jeremy Lindaman, Executive Director of the Bellosguardo Foundation, confirmed to NewsChannel 3-12 that paperwork was re-submitted about two weeks ago on Nov. 4.

Lindaman released the following statement on Tuesday:

We're really excited to open this to the public and the progress that we've made. The Bellosguardo Foundation is working to open the property to the public as quickly as possible. As a first phase of opening the foundation has applied for a conditional use permit with the City of Santa Barbara to open the property, utilizing existing infrastructure, for docent-led tours.

Jeremy Lindaman, Executive Director of the Bellosguardo Foundation

This latest submittal comes roughly eight months following the first round with the City which was denied and deemed incomplete.

Both the conditional use permit and a coastal development permit are issued by the City of Santa Barbara, however, could be appealed to the Coastal Commission.

Lindaman said the Foundation wants to offer docent led tours of the ADA accessible parts of the property throughout the day -- no group will exceed 34 people -- to keep within the city’s parking restrictions. Also, the Foundation is seeking permission to utilize shuttle services to bring people in at a rate of about once a week, to allow performances and other events.

The Foundation took ownership in December 2017. In recent years, both the Foundation and Lindaman have been sharply criticized for what some called "top secret" activities, a "lack of transparency," and, a lack of "progress" opening to the public.

Lindaman responded, saying, "The IRS settlement process, which did not conclude until 2018, was a long and arduous ordeal and required confidentiality. We are fully committed to opening the property to the public as soon as possible and are currently going through the city process, which began in 2019."

The City of Santa Barbara tells NewsChannel 3-12 that it plans to finish its review of this latest submittal by Nov. 30.

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here

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