SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Amid towering eucalyptus trees along Union Valley Parkway in Orcutt is a drilling rig that neighboring residents say only recently went up without any warning.
The well site belongs to the company that owns Greka Energy and its North Orcutt Lease operations.
The company operates dozens of wells in northern Santa Barbara County, many on sites that date back decades, including this one along the UVP in Orcutt.
Neighboring residents Central Coast News contacted said they have no problem with the drilling rig near their homes.
What some would call leapfrog development has created islands of large open space within residential areas where property owners are pursuing their mineral rights.
Applications for onshore drilling permits on the Central Coast have jumped significantly along with the price of crude oil, many counties seeing double digit increases in the past two years.
Landowners who don't have the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to explore for oil or gas per well have eager investors to turn to.
It's a mineral rights rush one large ranch owner in rural southern San Luis Obispo County is doing.
The owner of Porter Ranch, northeast of Highway 166 along Alamo Creek Road, is seeking a permit to drill as many as 10 exploratory wells on his property.
The application is still very early on in the county planning process.