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A security guard keeps a close watch on author Ray Ford as he walks near Driftwood

Ray Ford

A security guard keeps a close watch on author Ray Ford as he walks near Driftwood


Security Guards Hassling Beach Walkers?

Increased Patrols Near Driftwood May Signal Plans for New House on Craig McCaw Property


Originally published 12:00 p.m., July 26, 2013
Updated 4:00 p.m., July 26, 2013
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A number of people walking west along the beach from Haskell’s past the Bacara Resort have reported being intimidated by security guards on the property near the mouth of Eagle Canyon, a spot known locally as Driftwood.

Peter Moffat, a resident of nearby Rancho Embarcadero who walks his dog along this stretch of beach, has noticed “beefed up” patrols of the private property and witnessed a guard who lost his cool when a man and his girlfriend ventured onto a rocky area not far from his position.

“As the man approached the guard, who was siting in his car, to ask him a question, the guard jumped out of his car and told the man that he was on Venoco and federal property and he would go to jail if he went any further,” Moffat said. “The girlfriend was farther down the beach, collecting shells near the rocky edge of the high-tide line, and then the guard started yelling and making hand motions at her to not go any farther inland either.”

The property in question — located immediately west of the Bacara — is not owned by Venoco but is privately held by Seattle-area billionaire Craig McCaw, who purchased it in 2007. McCaw is the former husband of Wendy McCaw, who owns the Santa Barbara News-Press. The 60-acre property actually consists of three parcels, two located north of the railroad tracks and one 38-acre parcel on the south side that includes the Driftwood Cove area.

In an effort to verify whether there was an issue of not, I walked along the beach from Haskell’s to Driftwood Cove on Monday. As I approached Driftwood, I could see a white SUV parked on the edge of the property and within a few feet of the sand. Not too long after, while I was still quite a ways from the cove, the guard got out of his vehicle, stood in front of it, and watched me the entire time.

“Having security guards stationed immediately above the beach area where their presence could feel threatening is unfortunate,” said Anne Almy, supervising planner for Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department.”

“There has never been any intent to bother anyone using the beach,” said Denise Allec, director of operations for the property’s LLC, 8501 Hollister Avenue LLC. “We appreciate any input regarding the behavior of the security guards, and we will investigate the complaints further with the outside security firm who patrols the property and do our best to make sure there are no further problems with beach walkers.”

Allec noted that the guards are there to protect the property not harass people. “We’ve had calls from the Sheriff’s Department regarding marijuana growing, telephone poles cut down and used for a meth lab, bonfires within the trees along the creek, and other destruction on the property,” she added. “There are also sensitive habitat and cultural resources that are important for us to protect.”

McCaw’s ownership of the parcels has not been without controversy. In 2007, not long after McCaw became owner, unpermitted work was done to remove more than seven acres’ worth of eucalyptus trees, coastal sage shrub, native grass and nonnative vegetation, some of it in close proximity to a historic archeology site. As a result of the brush and tree removal, Gaviota Holdings LLC (now called 8501 Hollister Avenue LLC) was required to submit a Coastal Development Permit to mitigate the damage.

Neither the permit nor the mitigation has been completed yet, but Allec recently notified County Planning they would like to shift a portion of the mitigation work from the oceanfront parcel (where the removals took place) to the parcel north of the railroad tracks. She has also indicated the LLC will be submitting an application for a residential home on the property.

“We’ve told Ms. Allec that we’d like to see plans for both the mitigation and the home submitted to us by October,” Almy said. “Before we’ll make any decision regarding the mitigation, we want to see the whole package.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Several sentences relating to one of the guards walking with an unleashed pit bull have been removed because the location where they were walking was quite a distance away from the beach and the dog did not threaten anyone on the beach in any way.]

Comments

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What a crock of #$%@#$%: “We’ve had calls from the Sheriff’s Department regarding marijuana growing, telephone poles cut down and used for a meth lab, bonfires within the trees along the creek, and other destruction on the property,” she added. “There are also sensitive habitat and cultural resources that are important for us to protect.” This good guy protector of the land stuff is a bold face lie.

The only things cut down have been the entire eucalyptus grove down by the beach. He has cleared out the "invasive species" and used that as an excuse. Meanwhile the county did NOTHING. They want to re mitigate across the train tracks so they can block out the freeway and any view of the mansion he is going to try to put in.

The only thing that goes on is people crossing to get the the beach. This should be a case of eminent domain. I have had enough McCaw's in this town trying to remove beach access (among other stupid moves). I am only hoping the county will grow a pair and do something about this. In closing, why in the heck would this guy want to move in about 8 miles from Wendy? I am bummed at the attention this will bring to the area, the flip side is I don't want this guy ruining the place.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 2:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The security guard that tries to intimidate me will go to jail. I feel like going to the beach right now in fact!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 2:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Seriously, if the guard can't tell the difference between drug smugglers and people enjoying the beach, what good is he?!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 2:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Time to run the McCaws out of town, old west style...

anonymau5 (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

“We’ve told Ms. Allec (AKA his Realtor) that we’d like to see plans for both the mitigation and the home submitted to us by October,” Almy said. “Before we’ll make any decision regarding the mitigation, we want to see the whole package.”

Well whoop dee doo. Boy that is gonna get the job done! This guy is going to completely ignore the county and do whatever he wants. He has already done it once.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 2:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Poor McCaw's, trapped by the paranoia that so often does in the super-wealthy.

One would think the goal of having so much money is freedom.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 3:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gilded cage. No contractor who wants to keep their license will build without proper permitting so it seems like a lot of fear on both sides fueling this conflict.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 3:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually this is symptomatic of the general assault that is going on with beach access around here. There is talk of reducing capacity at Goleta Beach with this 2.0 tomfoolery. UCSB has been charging $$ to go to Campus Point for sometime now when access is even allowed. IV basically has no parking, and I had heard a while back that Coal Oil Point was going to have a restructured parking situation and the Plover has taken over there as well as at Surf beach up north. I had thought the Coastal Commission was supposed to to have some sort of Coastal Access Program. It seems like either it is being ignored going backwards.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"There are also sensitive habitat and cultural resources that are important for us to protect.”
-- McCaw's mouthpiece

Ha, ha, ha. Who said greedy billionaire ******** don't have a sense of humor?

SezMe (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 4:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If you walk along the beach and stay below the mean high tide line you are legal. Erosion has created a low bench there with a rocky beach in front. There are signs that say NO TRESPASSING and the goon sits in his vehicle watching. Like it or not it is private property beyond the mean high tide line. Hopefully all this outrage will get channeled into activism when the development proposal comes out and the EIR process unfolds. The best revenge is to make sure that he adheres to the strictest letter of the law (Coastal Act, CEQA, County Land use Policy etc), beyond that there is nothing that can be done.

Noletaman (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 5:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The tactic of plowing and cutting coastal habitat without proper permitting is an old one. Coastal Management Resources ( current Bixby Ranch titleholders) did it a couple of years ago. They plowed acres of coastal sage and critical habitat for Gaviota tar plant with the mentality of eliminating endangered flora so that it wouldn't be there when they apply for permitting in the future. Fortunately Mike Lunsford of Gaviota Coastal Conservancy got wind of it and exposed their misdeeds.
It's a non stop battle against the monied interests determined to capitalize on the last open spaces of Southern Cal coastline and we all must stay vigilant and support coastal protections.

geeber (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 5:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe it should just become a National Park

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 5:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

50 years from now, the Gaviota coastline could look like Malibu and Nantucket. Great photos for perspective here:

http://www.vanityfair.com/society/201...

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 8:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yup, us rich folks own the coast, and soon we'll own Goleta Park too... hahaaa suckas... that's what happens when ya sit on yer apathetic collective asses and ignore your civic duty, schmucks like me take over.

zebu111 (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2013 at 11:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'd be willing to respond to your post, zebu111, if it made any sense at all.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2013 at 3:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

simple SezMe, when good people neglect their civic duty, bad people fill the vacuum.

zebu111 (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2013 at 9:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

WOW, I guess owning property doesn't mean anything to anybody anymore. The property doesn't belong to you, it's PRIVATE!!!

Just wondering if any of you degenerates fell on the property would you SUE the owner?? Private property used to mean something once. But here in NIMBY land it only means something when you don't own it.

If you don't like what's going on then pony up the money to purchase the land and open it up to the public.........

Priceless (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2013 at 9:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No I would not sue the owner. Again, we in California have the right to coastal access and if there's surf- get outta the way.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2013 at 9:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey Priceless why don't you call 1-800-suck it. :) all the SB and Goletans are going to make any tool that thinks they can buy the place hell. And They won't be safe because we will all be boating in. :) have a nice day.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2013 at 1:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sounds like it's time for us to get together and make a little trip to the beach. If I hadn't evacuated my dogs out of this Godforsaken state back in October, I'd bring them too!

This is ridiculous...nobody is trying to go hang out in Mc Caw's yard or house...but Himself thinks he can hire thugs to prevent people from enjoying the beach too? Does he own the beach? Is he paying property taxes and insurance on the beach? Who did he buy the beach from? Who held or holds his mortgage to the beach?

Enough of this family already!

Holly (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2013 at 10:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey $11/hr beach guard: Keep an eye out for a full moon during daylight hours. It may well be mine. Billionaires---how quaint.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 8:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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