SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – The Superior Court of Santa Barbara County handed down a decision on Tuesday to stop a proposal to parcel out portions of the historical Rancho La Laguna for potential residential and commercial development.
The proposal denied on Tuesday sought to divide the 4000-acre area into 13 parcels which could allow for the building of residential estates similar to nearby developments from the same developers.
Potential development of the area caused multiple hearings and years of advocacy from multiple parties which culminated in a Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors vote to deny the project in 2017.
Two property owners sued the County over its decision and the Superior Court granted the Environmental Defense Center's (EDC) motion to intervene in the lawsuit to defend the County's decision.
Tuesday's decision upheld the County's 2017 vote to deny Rancho La Laguna's proposal to subdivide the area for alternative uses.
“This was an important win in the effort to preserve the agricultural economy and spirit of the Santa Ynez Valley,” said EDC Senior Attorney Alicia Roessler. “Farming and ranching are not only part of our heritage of this area – it’s also a major part of our local economy. Approval of this project would have set a terrible precedent, paving the way for other large-scale subdivisions that would threaten critical agricultural land and biodiversity across Santa Barbara County.”