The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] – Volume 22, Issue 51
County planning commissioner calls Santa Ynez project appeal ‘unmeritorious’
By Caleb Wiseblood
The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission doubled down on its approval of a two-story house’s construction, after denying an appeal that put a half-year halt on the project.
In August of 2021, Thano and Kathy Adamson were granted a land use permit to construct a single-family home on their rural property on Alamo Pintado Road, just north of Ballard. Less than two weeks later, a farm owner across the street from the site filed an appeal, which consequently delayed construction of the house for six months.
During the Planning Commission’s Feb. 9, meeting, the appellant, Jan Vandebos, said she has had unrelated, undisclosed quarrels with the Adamsons in the past and felt blindsided by their construction plans, which included the demolition of a barn to make way for the new house.
“We had no information on anything to do with the demolition, and I was actually on a horse the day that this happened,” said Vandebos, who trains and rehabilitates injured and off-track racehorses on her farm. “I would just like to say, as a concerned neighbor, I think every person has the right to buy and build, as long as it’s done legally and with some concern for the agriculture, the land, the neighbors, the animals—this is what makes our community so special.”
In her appeal, Vandebos criticized the permitted demolition—which took place in June 2021—as disruptive and unlawful for multiple reasons, including her claim that it presented health risks related to asbestos.
According to the staff report, the Adamsons’ demolition contractor confirmed that there were no asbestos-containing materials, such as drywall or vinyl, in the barn, and a demolition permit was obtained from the Building and Safety Division.
Vandebos also objected to the Adamsons’ plans to build a swimming pool in the front yard of the proposed house, which she criticized as not conforming to Solvang’s municipal code. Staff’s rebuttal was that the project is not within the jurisdiction of Solvang, as it is located in the unincorporated Santa Ynez Valley.
The Adamsons’ agent, Brett Jones of Jones Land Use Planning, spoke on behalf of his clients during the Feb. 9 meeting.
“I would just like to state how disappointing it is that the Adamsons have been delayed from the project, waiting six months to get to this hearing for an appeal that I doesn’t have any merit whatsoever,” Jones said.
Commissioner John Parke said that if Vandebos’ accusations were heard during a litigation proceeding, her claims “would border on malicious prosecution.”
“The county is spending thousands and thousands of dollars on this appeal, which I believe to be unmeritorious,” Parke said, shortly before the Planning Commission unanimously elected to deny Vandebos’ appeal.