What can be developed on one’s parcel and what are the procedures to do so?

Hollister Ranch home development


All Hollister Ranch parcels are in the Agricultural Preserve as a result of the Williamson Act. As such, each 100-acre parcel is permitted a primary residence. A guesthouse may also be permitted. The guesthouse living area cannot exceed 800 square feet. Those residences, as well as any support structures must be constructed within a 2-acre development envelope. The remaining acreage must be devoted to commercial agriculture.

If Santa Barbara County determines that there is a need for an agricultural employee to operate a commercial agricultural project, agricultural employee housing, including support structures, may be constructed outside of the 2-acre development envelope.

At the outset of one’s parcel development, the local Coastal Zone Ordinance requires a one-time fee of $5,000.

Following one’s determination of a development location and what is to be built, the plans are submitted to the Hollister Ranch Design Committee. The Parcel Development Manual (click to go to PDM) assists owners in the pre-planning of their development.

Once approved by the Design Committee, the project is submitted for review and approval to Santa Barbara County. The Design Committee works with the property owners to help them be prepared for county review.

An owner can choose any architect and/or contractor for their project. There are several HR owner/contractors who have expertise in development conditions at the Ranch. They have first-hand knowledge of how to deal with the Design Committee and with the county. As with any aspect of owning property at Hollister Ranch, working with someone who is an on-site resident can be extremely helpful.

County Property Taxes and HROA Assessments – As a result of participation in the Agricultural Preserve, taxes on Hollister Ranch property are reduced to a level below that provided in Proposition 13 rates. In some cases that reduction is significant. The determination of tax liability is made by Santa Barbara County in consideration of amount and value of the development, usability, ambience, etc.

A Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) comprised of interested HR owners meets annually with the HR General Manager to prepare a HROA budget for the upcoming fiscal year. As a result, a monthly assessment is divided amongst the 133 privately owned parcels. There are infrequent situational Special Assessments for short-term emergency repairs and for litigation that may occur. The Hollister Ranch Broker, Jeff Kruthers, is a member of the FAC.