Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

View of Channel Islands from San Marcos Foothills Development Site title=
View of Channel Islands from San Marcos Foothills Development Site
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Source: Channel Islands Restoration

The campaign to buy and preserve 104 acres in the San Marcos Foothills that are planned for development got a big boost last week when an anonymous donor gave one million dollars to the effort. The donation was given on condition that the funding will be returned if the coalition of environmental groups are unable to raise the remainder of the money needed to buy the property.

The development was approved by the County of Santa Barbara in 2005, and it consists of eight luxury homes, occurring on 104 acres on the mesa between the San Marcos Foothills Preserve and Highway 154.

Several environmental groups have organized to purchase the property before it is developed, spearheaded by Channel Islands Restoration (CIR), a Santa Barbara based non-profit organization. The group says the development will disrupt one of the last grassland habitats in Santa Barbara County that are important breeding and hunting grounds for many animals, particularly bird species that are in decline.

CIR hopes that the donation will demonstrate that the campaign should be taken seriously. “This donation shows that our community has the capacity to raise the kind of money needed to purchase the property at fair market value” said Ken Owen Executive Director of CIR.

CIR is calling for a socially distanced press conference to occur at the entrance of the property at the north end of Via Gaitero Road on Tuesday October 13 at 10:00 AM. We are inviting our partners and members of the public to speak to the press about the importance of the campaign and what our next steps will be now that seven figures have been raised.

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PitMix Oct 06, 2020 02:49 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Oh my goodness! How have we managed to enjoy More Mesa, the Carpenteria Bluffs, and the Wilcox all these years. It seems like Sail80 and Byzan think we should condoize them as well. Glad they are not running things and the people the vote for are not victorious.

PitMix Oct 07, 2020 07:24 AM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

You fundraise to buy the land, you fundraise to maintain it. In the case of Wilcox they gave it to the City and the City agreed to maintain it. Most City people would agree with this expense. Some conservancies get money from the State bond issues. The County gets 10M/yr from the pot growers, how about using some of that?

Sail380 Oct 07, 2020 09:55 AM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Thanks for an answer to my question. I really don't feel strongly either way on this except for increasing cost. If the City accepts the property and its associated ongoing cost's it will be paid for by our taxes. So, if the county or city loses $55.000 off the tax rolls and doesn't receive the property tax from a new development How much more will our taxes go up to cover the shortfall?

Julia Laraway Oct 06, 2020 09:30 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

I am so grateful to the donor who made the million dollar contribution and to all the others who made contributions or pledges totaling more than $280,000, which is WAY up from the $16,000 that had been donated/pledged on September 1st!!! We can do this. We CAN save this property for our community and those who come after us. There are arguments for letting it be developed, but what is true for me and my family and friends who love this place, is that we have to at least try to buy it. If we all tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on, it will work. With everyone donating just a little bit, big things happen. WE CAN DO THIS!!!! Please, get the word out, and leave your cynicism at the door.


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