Officials Let Oprah Expand Her Xanadu

03/05/2003 01:00AM

Oprah Winfrey has been given a green light -- albeit after the fact -- to expand the already massive development plan at her $50 million Montecito estate in California, the Associated Press reports.

Santa Barbara County zoning officials this week approved the zoning endorsement for the talk show queen, 49, to renovate her Georgian-style mansion on a 40-acre estate called Tara II, named for the plantation in "Gone With the Wind."

The officials conceded, however, that Winfrey should have sought their approval before beginning construction, which includes an expansion of her rose garden and a conversion of a garage into a media room.

Winfrey bought the estate in 2001, and although she reportedly acquired individual permits for the work, the county didn't receive an overall plan for the existing 62,000 sq. ft. of buildings.

"We find ourselves in a very complicated situation," Steve De Camp, county zoning administrator for the Planning and Development Department, told the news service. "Normally, when we deal with an as-built, we don't have hammers going on in the background."

Oprah's estate was built in 1934, actually two years before the novel "Gone With the Wind" was published and five years before the landmark movie was released. (It was the previous owners who named the place after the Civil War epic.)

The place includes a 19,826-sq.-ft. mansion, 3,014-sq.-ft. guest house, a barn, tennis court, pool, an orchard, several ponds and a lake, says AP. Just a nice little weekend getaway.
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