The Naples Coalition banded together in 2000. Our goal was to monitor and respond to this project in an effort to protect the rural character of Naples. After 3 years of fact finding, soul searching, debate, and discussions with the developer, the Coalition has crafted an alternative we feel allows the developer to obtain a reasonable return on investment, while protecting the rural character and environmental qualities of the Naples area. The concepts in our Alternative are being analyzed alongside the others in the DEIR.
|Coalition supporters on a recent hike to the Naples beach|
The Naples Coalition's tough decision to develop an independent, community-based alternative grew out of the legal realities at Naples. After a long struggle with land speculators over the legality of a long-forgotten, 1888 paper subdivision, the County was forced to adopt an Official Map in 1995, recognizing 273 lots at Naples. This wasn't a political land use decision by the community; this was a legal coup by the Morehart Land Company. The Morehart's then sold most of their interests to Vintage Communities of Orange County, a residential development company. This was the legal landscape the Naples Coalition inherited. Land conservation usually means buying land or conservation easements. But land prices are so high and speculative here that public acquisition of the entire 485 acres is not realistic. We had to accept that development of some kind would happen.
In 2002, the County entered into an agreement (MOU) with Vintage to process a development proposal at Naples. The MOU called for analysis of several alternatives. Vintage submitted a proposal for 54 luxury homes, 16 of which would be south of Highway 101, on the coastal terrace. Vintage also proposed an alternative which includes antiquated lots on the neighboring Dos Pueblos Ranch. That alternative would relocate some houses further north, out of sight, onto a portion of the Dos Pueblos Ranch. This was an improvement, but didn't go far enough to resolve the significant visual impacts, and left all 16 houses south of the highway.
The Coalition's Alternative seeks to preserve the rural character of the area by insisting that before any development is approved, a bonafide effort to transfer it to an urban area is made in compliance with Local Coastal Plan Policy 2-13. Whatever can't be transferred would be moved out of sight, into the hills north of the highway, and surrounded by a new oak woodland restoration area. A permanent protective easement would prevent any further development and would require the restoration area to be maintained in open space forever. A segment of Coastal Trail with low-profile, vertical beach access from a public parking area near Highway 101 is also included.
The stage is now set for an epic struggle involving competing visions for Naples. The outcome will have a profound affect on the rest of the Gaviota Coast. In the next few months, a series of opportunities will emerge for you to express your opinions. The Coalition will host public discussion sessions to help educate concerned citizens on the issues.
The Naples Coalition is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to the Naples Coalition are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Naples Coalition tax identification number is 56-2636252.