The Development of San Marcos Foothills

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By Julia Laraway

I am writing to you in desperation and at the last minute regarding the development of the San Marcos Foothills West property that is set to begin this year by the Chadmar Group out of Los Angeles.

I am wondering if the fires burning up and down the state of California are giving you pause as you think of the fact the County okayed the development of a property where fire ravaged the landscape a mere ten months ago in November of 2019? Without a doubt, you know that those hills have burned or were threatened before last year in 2018, 2014, 2013 and 2009. Five times in one decade alone! How can you continue to be complicit in allowing the development of land where there is such a great chance of it burning again?

Does the fact that water is scarce already in Santa Barbara make you wonder at all whether the building of excessively large homes which will undoubtably utilize more water than is needful is appropriate?

After the heat waves of the past weeks when the temperature got to an easy 109 degrees at the Foothills, and was probably hotter, do you still think 9 gargantuan homes gulping up the electricity to cool 3000 to 5000 square feet of living space is a good idea?

I recognize that this deal was made long ago, and that it is coming to fruition on your watch. I know that you do think about the impact this development will have on the community. My heart is broken for the animals that already live there and the loss of habitat this development will entail, and I know in my bones that what is planned is an abomination.  Do you know how many people take solace from the landscape as it is now? The climate is changing, and heat waves and fires will only get worse in Santa Barbara. You must have the will to stop development of places that will burn again and again in the coming years.

My family and I have donated to Channel Islands Restoration Project, which is spearheading an effort to buy the property, but when I last checked there is not a chance that the 5 million dollars will be raised by September 15 of this year. There must be something that could be done to make sure that this property stays in its present state in perpetuity.


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dukemunson Sep 15, 2020 01:19 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

Because I can understand and see that a development that gave up/created a preserve out of private land as a condition of building a handful of houses on that land? You are very prolific on Edhat, but any/all criticism of your posts or thoughts is immediately labeled as a”neocon”. It’s a defense mechanism... and a rather weak and lazy one at that.

Byzantium Sep 14, 2020 08:59 AM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

PiMix, time to get woke. You are finally hearing from the variety of voices that exist in this community; not just the "progressive" bubble that has dominated public discussion for far too long to our ever-lasting detriment. Less dismissive attitude that the full range of these voices "not typical" , and more discussion and depth in the public forum is a good thing. Arrogance about a monolithic perspective only is not a good thing.

PitMix Sep 14, 2020 09:41 AM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

Yeah, Byzan. Co-opting liberal speech doesn't make you a majority. Edhat comments are consistently more conservative and anti-incumbent than the town as a whole, which is why we keep re-electing them and have a super majority in the CA legislature. Must be really irritating to you. But keep up your comments in this little con bubble that you've created because I enjoy seeing your attempts to alter reality.

a-1600108045 Sep 14, 2020 11:27 AM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

Pitmix, the only thing I disagree with is the number of conservative commenters here. It's almost always Byzantium being anonymous or a handful of other squeaky wheels, definitely not the majority. The rest of us just get too annoyed to argue with the other side. Can't reason with them.

PitMix Sep 14, 2020 01:15 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

11:27, a lot of the people that used to post thoughtful comments no longer do so, and I think it is because Byzan and Factotum and the others made the experience less enjoyable and productive. If you read the comments here you would struggle to understand who Mayor Murillo got elected to City Council so many times. But the reality is- she has. So Edhat must not be very representative of SB.

a-1600117869 Sep 14, 2020 02:11 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

It's ridiculous to rely on internet comments to represent any type of demographic as a whole. But the fact is, these people live and work in our community. Santa Barbara is not as progressive and liberal as it likes to think it is. There's a good number of middle to upper class white people with conservative leaning beliefs, many of whom don't "understand" the protests against racism because they've never personally witnessed it.

a-1600120907 Sep 14, 2020 03:01 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

How come the majority of con comments here show the same level of ignorance of constitutional law, economics, civics, epidemiology, mathematics, and general science, plus make the same spelling and grammar errors? Is that vast population of reactionaries a set of sociopathic clones?

Zenyatta19 Sep 14, 2020 11:52 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

Pit- I suspect she got elected because only those living in the city are able to vote. It is likely many who comment on Edhat live in parts of the unincorporated county. Places such as Montecito, Hope Ranch, Foothills, Summerland , Santa Ynez and Goleta

a-1600199977 Sep 15, 2020 12:59 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

Murillo has been elected in multi-party splits of the votes - never by a majority of voters. Believe her last mayor's race which had many candidate splitting votes all over the place ended up with her getting 30% of the vote for a plurality. Whether this split was intended or unintentional, it did produce a dismal outcome. Same with Murillo's first city council election - a multiparty split and in slips Murillo again with only a small plurality. There has been no universal acclaim for Murrillo, nor should there be. But that is the way local politics have gone of late - hold on to the solid city employee union block of votes and let the other civic minded candidates fight over the remaining spoils.

a-1600236545 Sep 15, 2020 11:09 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

No, what has happened is that those in the “progressive bubble” don’t come to Edhat anymore because of all the negative comments by you all. Negative and boringly predictable.

Frederick Sep 14, 2020 09:49 AM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

It’s a real shame to see beautiful natural open space developed for the sake of some luxury view homes. Any time new development like this on unspoiled land is approved the people and future generations lose If time.

dukemunson Sep 14, 2020 02:34 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

The 8 houses take up a fraction of the preserve that EXISTS because the owners gave it as a condition to build something! The preserve would no exist without that! The OP was looking for donations to completely save it. That is honest, noble and good. But the people who bemoan the evil developers for trying to build a few houses on land they own that's zoned for the houses (and were zoned at various points for many MANY more) are ridiculous.

a-1600193082 Sep 15, 2020 11:04 AM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

Here's the deal= back in 2004-2006 the epic battle to preserve the bulk of this property was a huge win- and the Trust for Public Lands deeded over to the County. For "environmentalists" to now do a "bait and switch" and fight the small amount of homes allowed in the agreement will only dampen possible future land trust opportunities in other places- such as More Mesa- which truly needs the protection NOW as there is a wide swatch of development possibility there. Enjoy the open space/preserve in the meantime.

dukemunson Sep 15, 2020 11:48 AM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

What a certain number of people don’t seem to realize is that the preserve was created OUT of the development, and not vice versa.

a-1600208331 Sep 15, 2020 03:18 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

"they" have....many times.....it's been protected by a combination of owner neglect, recessions, and cluelessness on the part of developers.....but they have entitlements.....in my mind, acquiring as much of More mesa as possible should be #1 on the part of preservationists; there's been opportunities in the past....but the$$ commitment just wasn't there. We increasingly have very development-friendly elected bodies...... cannot rely on them to insulate every open space from developers

dukemunson Sep 15, 2020 03:32 PM
The Development of San Marcos Foothills

“They” aren’t going to get very far with more mesa... it’s a much different beast than the San Marcos preserve. The preserve was fenced off private land prior to becoming a preserve (via an agreement to build X number of homes)... More Mesa is open and used and enjoyed by hundreds of people every day...

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