Shortly after setting off from the San Ysidro Trailhead, I was surprised to see the land across the ravine being cleared of everything except the trees that survived the Thomas Fire. The property is (a) unrecognizable and (b) newly fenced off along McMenemy Trail.
The owner of the lot is San Ysidro Bb Property LLC, which is also the owner of the San Ysidro Ranch—in other words, Beanie Babies magnate Ty Warner. In the graphic at right, the developed part of the Ranch is in the lower lot labeled “San Ysidro Bb Property LLC,” and the crescent-shaped one above that is the area where work is underway.
Then I asked around, and the word from reliable sources is that Warner has decided the 41-room hotel needs its own botanical garden. (There’s some irony in that nearly all the existing plants have to be removed first.) Inquiries to hotel management went unacknowledged, so we’ll have to wait to find out whether plans for the garden—such as private events—extend beyond forest bathing. The addition of structures would appear unlikely, as the Montecito Planning Commission and the Montecito Board of Architectural Review said they knew nothing about the project. Then again, over at Warner’s Montecito Club, permission was recently requested ex post facto.
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