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Bluffs Protection & Vision

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... WHEREAS, Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs and LAND TRUST [the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County] raised over $4,500,000 to purchase the Carpinteria Bluffs property and to establish an endowment for its maintenance, and the Land Trust agreed to transfer the Property to LANDOWNER [City of Carpinteria] in exchange for this Easement in favor of LAND TRUST

1. PURPOSE OF CONSERVATION EASEMENT (Why the property was protected):

The purpose of this easement is to ensure that the Carpinteria Bluffs will be retained in perpetuity in its natural, open space, scenic and wildlife habitat condition and use for the benefit of the public, and to prevent any use of the Property that would significantly impair or interfere with its Conservation Values, recognizing the need for limited active Recreation Uses in the area so designated...

Conservation Values:
(i) the natural scenic beauty of undeveloped coastal open space within the urban area, which is important to the well being and fullest human experience of people young and old, both in the present and for future generations.
(ii) the dominant character of the Property as primarily natural, unmanicured grassland with open, spacious vistas of the ocean and mountains; and the paramount Conservation Value being that the Property remain accessible and enjoyable for passive, unstructured, low intensity public uses such as walking, landscape painting, kite flying, outdoor education and the spiritual sustenance which being in nature provides.
(iii) the opportunity to provide for limited active recreational playing fields on a portion of the Property, to be sized, designed and constructed in a manner, as defined in the Conservation Easement, which has the least visual impact upon the natural, open space aesthetic character of the remainder of the Property.
(iv) the preservation and protection of the existing eucalyptus grove as a visual hallmark and an evocative segment of California rural history; and the preservation and protection of the existing areas of coastal sage scrub and coastal bluff scrub.
(v) at the sole discretion of the LANDOWNER and within available financial resources, the opportunity gradually to enhance the aesthetic and habitat values by planting additional native trees, coastal sage scrub, coastal bluff scrub, native grasses and wildflowers to promote plant and animal diversity on the Property.

The easement is divided into two zones, shown on Exhibit B.

The purpose of Zone 1 is to ensure that those areas will be retained in a natural, open space and wildlife habitat condition; with permitted uses limited to: (6) passive recreational and educational activities; and (b) management restoration and enhancement of the conservation values, as as described in Paragraph 3 of the easement. Zone I also includes the perpetual designation of named trails on the Bluffs, shown on Exhibit C.

The purpose of Zone 2 is to designate certain areas which are available for limited active Recreation Use which is permitted in this zone-two adult regulation soccer fields and two adult regulation softball fields (or a number of smaller youth league fields). Primary considerations of the limits on Recreation Use activities and facilities are minimizing hardscape and obstruction of views from Highway 10 1 and Carpinteria Avenue toward the Bluffs and the ocean, as well as views from the Bluffs toward the mountains and ocean. Zone 2 also includes the perpetual naming of the permitted turf sport play fields, shown on Exhibit C..


Section 3 of the easement confines uses in Zone 1 to open space, scenic, passive public recreation. Passive public recreational use includes but is not limited to hiking, strolling, landscape painting, viewing and sitting.

Section 4 of the easement separately defines the limited active recreation uses and related facilities which are permitted in Zone 2 only. All recreation improvements permitted must first be described in an Improvement Plan to be developed by the Landowner, with participation by the Land Trust, Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluff, and the general public. Temporary, small structures, as defined in Section 4.(k), may be used within Zone 2 on a day use basis only. The easement also permits the landowner to grant utility easements on the property, provided such easements do not significantly impair or interfere with the Conservation Values.

In both Zones I and 2, the Landowner has reserved the rights to improve and maintain designated and approved trails; to promote public educational uses and events focused on the natural, open space and scenic resources of the Bluffs; to maintain the existing and approved future improvements on the property; to develop water resources; to undertake the restoration and enhancement of the open space, habitat, public access and educational resource value of the Bluffs; to conduct animal control; and to grant and maintain necessary utility easements. A paramount concern to the City of Carpinteria which is acknowledged by the Land Trust in accepting this easement is the right of the City "at its sole discretion, to take such actions as Landowner deems necessary to protect the health and safety needs of the public using the Property." [Paragraph 3.(d).]

Both the Landowner and the Land Trust are required to notify the other party if they submit permit applications for any improvements or activities permitted under the easement.

3. PROHIBITED USES (for both Zones I & 2):

  • subdivision of the property
  • establishment of any residential, agricultural, retail, commercial or industrial uses or structures (other than the 625 square foot restroom/storage building allowed in Zone 2 within 150 feet of the eastern boundary of the property). At the landowner's discretion, retail sales for the sole benefit of a qualified non-profit organization (e.g. snack sales at a permitted recreation event from a table or other temporary structure) may be allowed.
  • construction or erection of roads, bleachers, picnic tables, trailers, and permanent fencing except as specifically permitted for the sport play fields and as required by health and safety laws or to respond to emergency needs
  • fires, fireworks and barbecues
  • night lighting except for security purposes in the area of the 1-2 permitted restroom/storage buildings
  • amplified sound except on an occasional basis with issuance of a special event permit by the landowner
  • motor vehicle use except for permitted land management, public health and safety purposes and for temporary access to set up and remove equipment related to the Recreational Uses and permitted special events
  • removal of Eucalyptus trees. Paragraph 5.(k) specifies the required protection of the Eucalyptus Grove areas, shown on Exhibit D.
  • planting of non-native plants. Paragraph 5.(1) prohibits the intentional introduction of nonnative plant species, except for the permitted turf playing fields and for planting eucalyptus trees within the existing groves.

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Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs - PO Box 700 - Carpinteria, CA 93014