Oprah Winfrey has been accused of building a massive wall around her multi-million dollar California mansion to protect it from flooding.
The construction appeared after a permit was applied for in February in an effort to protect its $100 million Montecito complex, dubbed the Promised Land, from flooding.
Winfrey, 69, is neighbors of the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but others say others are quick to complain about the wall Noozhawkand fear it could put their homes at greater risk of flooding.
Jimenez Nursery, a Carpinteria-based company, applied for a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers using Winfrey’s address in the exclusive neighborhood of Ennisbrook.
It’s unclear whether Winfrey is aware of the wall or has given permission for it to be attached to her, but residents are concerned whether the wall will divert water – and affect other homes.
The wall appeared after a permit was applied for in February in an effort to protect Oprah’s $100 million home in Montecito from flooding
Winfrey, 69, is neighbors with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – but others are quick to complain about the wall
They claim it could endanger their property, following a mudslide in 2018 that damaged many people and killed 23 people.
During that storm, Winfrey posted a video showing the destruction of one of her properties, saying, “So there was a fence here. That’s my neighbour’s house, destroyed.’
Montecito suffered from rain in January, which seems to have led to the construction of the wall on Santa Rosa Lane.
Officials from the Santa Barbara County Planning & Development Department have said they are “investigating” complaints about the wall.
Deputy Director John Zorovich told SFGate: ‘We are now working on our research, so I have no idea yet whether or not a permit will be required.
“I really can’t say more about that because it’s an ongoing investigation.”
Authorities sent officials to investigate the wall in the first week of April, requesting a like-for-like reconstruction of the creek bank that had washed away in January.
It also called for placing boulders along the creek side that “eroded and washed away.”
Jimenez Nursery applied for a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers using Winfrey’s address in the exclusive neighborhood of Ennisbrook
Santa Barbara County Planning & Development Department officials have said they are ‘investigating’ complaints about the wall
Montecito suffered from rain in January, which seems to have led to the construction of the wall on Santa Rosa Lane
Crystal Huerta, a project manager for the US Army Corps of Engineers, confirmed that “no permit” had been issued for the wall.
Robert DeDeaux, a spokesman for the Los Angeles District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, added, “The Regulatory Department has not approved or denied any permit applications related to the private property referred to in Santa Barbara County.
“The Santa Barbara County Regulatory Department of the USACE has not assessed construction on private property at this time, as landowner consent is required.”
The California Department of Fish & Wildlife has been inundated with permit applications for property repairs following the heavy rains of the past three months.
The CDFW confirmed to Noozhawk that they are in talks with the property manager and the company that installed the wall to get more details as they have their own approval process.
Senior environmental scientist Steve Gibson, responsible for the South Coast Region, said: ‘We are looking for information on how it was built.
“We don’t know if it’s been excavated and dug in with larger rocks that we’d like to see near certain banks.”
Residents claim it could put their property at risk, following a 2018 mudslide that damaged many people and killed 23 people
Search and rescue efforts ramped up in 2018 for hundreds of Montecito residents who feared being trapped in their homes after the mudslide
Crystal Huerta, a project manager for the US Army Corps of Engineers, confirmed that “no permit” had been issued for the wall