A settlement between the California Coastal Commission and the owners of a massive 24,000 acre coastal ranch in Santa Barbara County over unpermitted development is being hailed as a big win for the public, with the deal calling for 36 acres of land being donated by the ranch to expand a popular coastal park.
Bixby Ranch, in the Point Conception area, is home to some prime undeveloped coastal land, and some endangered plants and animals. But, State Coastal Commission officials say a number of unpermitted project have been developed on the site, ranging from 37 water wells to unauthorized roads and disking of land.
In a settlement with the ranch’s owners, they have agreed to restore and replant 500 acres of land, seek permits for the wells, and pay $500,000. The agreement requires the ranch owners to take a number of steps to protect historic Native American sites on the ranch.
But, the biggest part of the deal approved by the Commission Thursday is the donation of 36 acres of the ranch next to Jalama County Park to Santa Barbara County. The property include a mile long stretch of beach.