Co-Ownership of Hollister Ranch Parcels

Hollister Ranch Realty

While 100-acre Hollister Ranch parcels cannot be subdivided, there are a number of Hollister Ranch properties owned by more than one family. While there are a few multiply owned parcels that are owned differently, most multiple ownership arrangements involve three unrelated families, each owning an undivided 1/3 interest in the 100-acre parcel.  

Typically one family might  have the right to construct the one principal residence on the parcel as permitted by Santa Barbara County.  The owner(s) of this interest would be allowed to live full time on the property as with any other legal single family residence in the County.

A second family may have the right to build the guest house on the parcel as permitted under current zoning.  A legal guest house in Santa Barbara County can be no larger than 800 square feet, cannot have a full-kitchen and may not be used for full-time habitation (see §35-120, Article II, Chapter 35 County Code).  

A third family might have the rights to agricultural development on the parcel.  Upon application to and approval by the county, an agricultural employee’s residence can be constructed following the issuance of a conditional use permit. This permit is not automatic and is issued only when the County is convinced it is necessary to and in conjunction with a bona fide commercial agricultural project (see §35-217, County Zoning Ordinance).

Naturally, there are variations to the above typical arrangement.  In the opinion of the owners selling these partial interests, this form of co-ownership appears to conform to both current county zoning requirements and the Hollister Ranch Owners’ Association CC&Rs §6.02.

Many buyers are unfamiliar with the purchase of property in undivided interests.  While this type of ownership has become common at Hollister Ranch, it is of utmost importance to properly structure the form of co-ownership utilized in order to hold the property.  

Various legal forms have been used to effect co-ownership of a Hollister Ranch parcel.  These include partnerships, co-tenancies, corporations, etc.  It is important to understand the legal ramifications of this type of ownership and to specify relationships between the co-owners in the form of a Co-ownership Agreement, including all co-owners’ rights and responsibilities.  It is recommended that one employ an experienced land use attorney to draft such an Agreement.     

There are other limitations when one owns less than an entire Hollister Ranch parcel.  For instance, the number of parcel guests that are allowed on the Ranch at any given time, which is limited by the CC&Rs, must be divided amongst the various co-owners.  However, co-ownership can provide the enjoyment of Hollister Ranch ownership at a fraction of the cost of an entire 100-acre parcel.

Undivided 1/12 OwnershipHollister Ranch Realty

The least expensive way in which to purchase property at Hollister Ranch and still enjoy rights to access Ranch facilities is to buy an undivided 1/12 interest. About a dozen parcels are owned in this way. It is essential to understand that one’s right to use Hollister Ranch is significantly reduced with this type of ownership.

Prior to 1988 (when the CC&Rs were amended so as to limit ownership to a maximum of three, unrelated families) some groups of 12 individuals purchased Hollister Ranch parcels for access to the recreational areas. While the owners of parcels held in this fashion can continue to sell their undivided 1/12 interests, it is very important to recognize that ONLY one individual can be designated as an owner. All other family members are considered as guests and are subject to the same restrictions that are placed upon all other guests of the parcel.

Furthermore, any time that the 12 co-owners reach the maximum limit of 12 guests on any given day, no additional guest(s), even if they are family members, are able to enter the Ranch.  Although, at first blush, this may seem draconian, it is one of the methods that have been developed over the past 30 years to preserve the pristine, rural nature of the Ranch, and enjoys the full support of virtually every owner.