How's this for adding some cachet to a housing project: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, have bought a 25-acre tract in the Rancho Monte Alegre project in Santa Barbara County -- spending about $4.7 million for the land, public records show.
The Carpinteria project is transforming a historical 19th century California ranch that had several thousand acres of lush canyons, waterfalls and ocean views into an enclave of 25 privately owned estates. About 2,800 acres of the original ranch land were dedicated to the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County for preservation and will remain untouched.
Only 25 home sites have been designated in land parcels ranging from 20 to 720 acres.
This clearly isn't a development for the faint-of-wallet, even here in Grey Poupon country.
The Governator's homesite permits a house of up to a relatively modest 8,500 square feet; nothing smaller than 4,500 square feet is allowed in the development, and only one homesite permits a 12,000-square-footer. The 99 pages of project design guidelines determine in what style a home may be built (in general, a Mediterranean), what kind of plants may be used in landscaping (think native) and pretty much every other detail of construction -- including the style and color of the construction trailers that may be used.