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Oceanfront Santa Barbara Seeking $108 Million

A large, oceanfront Santa Barbara-area ranch that sparked a local scuffle over its development potential is going on the market for $108 million.

Located in Goleta, about 18 miles west of Santa Barbara, Las Varas Ranch encompasses about 1,800 acres, said Kerry Mormann of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, who is listing the property with Anthony Punnett of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Mr. Mormann added that the ranch’s roughly 2 miles of oceanfront make it “pretty unique,” especially since they include a sandy beach.

The main Spanish-style house has unobstructed views of the Pacific, said owner Anita “Topsy” Doheny, whose late husband, Timothy M. Doheny, combined two adjacent parcels to create the ranch in the 1960s. Mr. Doheny, who died in 2009, was the grandson of oil tycoon Edward Laurence Doheny, Sr. The property also includes a manager’s home from the early 1900s, several staff houses, two arenas and various ranch buildings. The property is being sold with roughly 50 head of cattle and several horses, Mrs. Doheny said.

A new owner could apply to build additional homes on the property, but “there’s not a high level of development potential,” Mr. Mormann said. In 2005 the Dohenys applied to Santa Barbara County for lot line adjustments and a reconfiguration of the property to allow for more homes to be built near the ocean. The application, which drew opposition from local residents and conservationists who said it could pave the way for residential development, was denied in September.

Mrs. Doheny said the additional homes would have been for use by family members. But she said the denial of the project isn’t why she is selling. Now in her 70s, she said the long drive to the property from her home in Los Angeles is growing more taxing. “Emotionally I’m very attached to the property,” she said. “But it’s getting to be too much.”

She said she wants to find a buyer “like my husband, who would love it for what it is.”

Santa Barbara County’s largest non-commercial sale was in 2007, when roughly 25,000 acres of ranchland sold for about $135 million, Mr. Mormann said.

Source: The Wall Street Journal: Mansion

Source: The Wall Street Journal: Mansion

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