Co-Ownership of Hollister Ranch Parcels
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
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
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
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 Ownership
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
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
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.