The City of Santa Barbara does not own the property. The Bellosguardo property is owned by a 501(c)3 non-profit: Bellosguardo Foundation, Inc.
Progress is being made in opening the property to the public on a regular basis. At this time, the Bellosguardo Foundation is planning to open for small docent led tours in the Fall of 2022. The Foundation is also actively working with the City of Santa Barbara for approval of a Conditional Use Permit which will allow for even greater public access. Before regular public use can begin the property needs ADA accessible ramps, restrooms, and parking that meets current city standards. Donations to help pay for these needed improvements are greatly appreciated.
The City of Santa Barbara has various restrictions on private entities, such as the Bellosguardo Foundation, using city streets, parking lots, and other city-owned infrastructure. In fact, as part of the Conditional Use Permit the City has stated the following: one of the findings the Planning Commission must make for the Conditional Use Permit is that adequate access and off-street parking including parking for guests is provided in a manner and amount so that the demands of the development for such facilities are adequately met without altering the character of the public streets in the area at any time. With this rule Bellosguardo Foundation will not be able to offer any pedestrian access, only on-site parking and shuttle service will be allowed.
Yes, occasionally Bellosguardo Foundation can open the property for special events such as fundraisers and private functions that generate revenue for the Foundation. These often require temporary infrastructure (restrooms, ADA ramps, etc.) to meet health and safety codes for which the Foundation seeks and receives permits from the City of Santa Barbara.
Bellosguardo Foundation is currently seeking applicants for various docent roles. If you are interested in volunteering, apply here.