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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a-1601936626 Oct 05, 2020 03:23 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Markle is a good guess- nice intro to her new community. Following the footsteps of Michael Douglas. Property today is far more a white elephant due to wildland fires, utility access and insurance costs- price is probably negotiable.

Minibeast Oct 05, 2020 04:18 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Current amount garnered is $1,281,144. Market value on the 104 acre property is 5.5 million. Looks like the date for purchase has been extended, as last week I read it was Sept 12 or 15. I would like very much to see that area kept as green/open space. To that end, I donated $500 today. (If the property purchase by donors doesn't go through, your donation will be returned to you.)

dukemunson Oct 05, 2020 07:09 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

You are probably new to this topic and don’t have context or understanding of what you are talking about. The preserve (and open space) was created from private land in an agreement to make these houses. Hundreds of acres went from private fenced land to an open preserve for all so that a few houses could be built. We can all hope it gets bought and completely preserved... but it went from a completely private (and completely inaccessible) property to a public preserve that we all enjoy. Context and a general understanding and concern of things often help!

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

Sure, DUKEMUSNON, you are correct about that, but SFGA055 is STILL right... the last thing we need is more luxury mansions. Period. No matter HOW they get here. We need to preserve this open space in perpetuity.

sblocal1967 Oct 05, 2020 05:21 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

you all sound like a bunch of people waiting for more government handouts - the reason Santa Barbara is the way it is - is because wealthy people - many of which are self made have invested heavily in Santa Barbara - I am all for large nicer homes in our community to balance out high density development which is also needed - if you truly want less development, then you need to oust democrats who rely on tax dollars to line their pockets/pensions - make governments smaller and less costlier so that there is not this reliance of more development to generate for tax $$$

biguglystick Oct 06, 2020 02:03 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

I'm with PITMIX, as a native Californian and long -(long)-time Santa Barbara resident, I do not think that Santa Barbara has gone in a good direction since the 70's. It is a playground for only the wealthiest of people now, ... and it's everywhere, in all the high end shops downtown and in the Funk Zone to the northern reaches of Goleta, where they ruined Haskell's and built the Bacara, one of the most overrated over-expensive resorts I've ever seen. Santa Barbara used to be a lovely small town filled with middle class local families, it wasn't always the posh resort town they've made it out to be, and you can thank high end BIG real estate developers for that, and you can bet your bottom dollar that NONE of those guys are voting Democratic.

RHS Oct 05, 2020 06:15 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

I am more concerned with the repeated begging for alms from the high and mighty. It is wrong for us to kiss the foot of people who inherited titles and wealth or those who got it from celebrity. We, as in WE THE PEOPLE, have the right and obligation to protect our society and this means joining together in that device called GOVERNMENT to remedy problems such as this. The holders of this property are stoking the idea that we should individually contribute to a huge fund to bail them out. At worst the county should have zoned this property to prevent the exploitation of the area. Alternatively we should spend taxpayers money on a fair price for it. And we should stop given preferential tax treatment to such places.

a-1601947361 Oct 05, 2020 06:22 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Private property rights are fundamental to the success of our nation. Government does not cure all ills as you claim; since too much government creates ills as well. Handle with care; not just a self-interested wish list. Government at best protects individuals from harm from other individuals. And jointly we the people decide what other powers we want to grant - like zoning and private property rights protection. When one says the "state", that is really nothing more those actual persons we choose to elect - Hannah beth Jackson, Monique Limon, Salud Carbajal ...etc.

Ahchooo Oct 05, 2020 07:57 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

RHS, I’m confused. You say the owners of this property are wanting us to bail them out? Do you mean that they don’t think they can make money by building the eight luxury homes there, so they hope to sell the property? Or??? Please explain.

Basicinfo805 Oct 05, 2020 09:38 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

So to summarize....It's about another 4+ million to buy it from the developers. Like the idea of buying it for public park/trails, but it'll obviously have to be a massive single donor. Let's see if anyone who's really rich goes for it, and the rest if us will have to wait and see.

RHS Oct 06, 2020 10:02 AM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Shame, et al. The "owners of the land" do not have the right to do with it as they wish. This is pretty basic stuff. If they wanted to build an oil processing facility on it could they? If they wanted to build a 1000 unit condominium would that be allowed. With respect to the bail out comment. Let's find out what these speculators paid for this property, what the previous owners paid for it, etc., and then reimburse them for that cost plus maybe some inflation. The prices of the homes being built in the property adjacent to this parcel are so expensive they have been on market for years. The same will be true for this if they actually tried to build SFR's as promised so the owners of the land are looking to escape by convincing us that we have to give millions to them. In addition, of course, real estate speculation is fueled by tax write offs and sheltered profits ad nauseum. This is why Trump probably doesn't have to pay taxes on his alleged millions of dollars income each year.

dukemunson Oct 06, 2020 01:00 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Except, they aren't. Do you ever have any idea what you are talking about? They had an agreement in place that allowed for the property to be purchased and "preserved". Last I checked they had sold a few of the houses off Cieneguitas, so yes...properties in the development have been on the market for years, but they are different houses as they are obviously using the money from sales to build the rest. It looks like they remain a ways off on breaking ground on this part of the property. It was a generous concession to being allowed to build the parcels (the option to buy). I'm glad you brought up Trump though...like Trump you seemingly only make (wildly confident) crazy statements that have no basis in reality.

haskelslocal Oct 06, 2020 07:52 AM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

If you've not been up to this property go up and take a look. Because of location, the parcel in question is perfectly situated for fantastic views of both Santa Barbara and Goleta. There really nothing quite like it. You can do a nice little loop of about 3 miles that includes a perfect uphill for the magnificent view decent on the way back down. I really appreciate the effort going into securing this site for public use.

Lucky 777 Oct 06, 2020 09:23 AM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

$5.5 Million seems like a small amount to preserve an area that big forever for the community. Each of the houses in my neighborhood are at or approaching a million bucks each, for lots with less than a quarter acre. Of course, we all know of friends who have decamped to Texas or Arizona and bought 150 acres of ranchland with several houses barns etc for one million. I second the suggestion we get the Brits to bail us out and call it the Royal Reserve.

a-1602002047 Oct 06, 2020 09:34 AM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Harry can also volunteer with SB Search and Rescue and keep his helicopter pilot license up to date.. Preserve the land and save lives - how is that for their new lifestyle branding - walking the walk, not just talking about it. Heritage of personal philanthropy has long set this area apart when compared to other coastal communities.

PitLocal Oct 06, 2020 09:33 AM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

I walk with my dog in the San Marcos preserve at least once a week. The developer that built the 8 or so mini ranchettes at the top of Cieneguitas (southern portion of the preserve) recently cut off access to two trails that had been used to enter the preserve for decades. That is the same developer that is now poised to build more mini ranchettes on the western side of the preserve. There is every type of local wildlife imaginable in the preserve, and the preserve provides an excellent wilderness experience within minutes of downtown. I hate seeing our Santa Barbara open spaces being usurped for wealthy peoples' vacant second homes. It is such a squandering waste of what makes our town special. The county supervisors really sold our soul on this one. I really hope we can preserve what we fought for the last time this land was on the chopping block.

PitMix Oct 06, 2020 11:21 AM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

SB, if that is that case, how is the income gap growing so rapidly that the top 1% in the US has more wealth than the bottom 80%? Their taxes were just cut by President Virus. And how did the US survive and thrive when the tax rates on the rich were pretty high in the 50s? Try to at least get the facts on your side when you criticize.

Byzantium Oct 06, 2020 12:58 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

I think the Democrats "eat the rich" attitude has made charitiable giving unpalatable, when all the donor gets is why didn't you give me something else or why didn't you give me more, or why did it take you so long. When just a simple thank you would have been sufficient..

Byzantium Oct 06, 2020 01:06 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

The government does not own anyone's wealth. People agree to tax themselves in certain amount, and for specific purposes. Taxation is the only control the government has over the production of others. No such thing as a public "fair share" of someone's else's earnings or inheritances. There is only the tax code, as written by our duly elected officials. This is the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals think they have an automatic right to everything other people own or produce, and they only reluctantly allow them to keep part of their own property. Conservatives think they own what they produce and retain, and will give to the govenrment only what is legally required. Because of this fundamental difference of belief, the two camps are like oil and water. One group wants to take everything; one group wants to hold on to as much as they can.

biguglystick Oct 06, 2020 01:49 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

BYZANTIUM, you are entirely wrong. People enjoy philanthropic giving even if they are poor. I fall into the lowest economic income bracket, and yet I was able to raise $800 back when they were saving the Wilcox Property, and I donated over $100 to save the Carpinteria Bluffs, and you bet I'll be giving to this cause too, even though I don't have much. When people are motivated for a good cause, they GIVE, they make it happen. Charitable giving is a good thing to do, and people like to know they are making a difference. Democrats have NOTHING to do with this, take your right wing propaganda elsewhere, and let's work to save this beautiful land!

biguglystick Oct 06, 2020 01:57 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

SBLOCAL Who are you trying to kid? A whopping 76 percent of registered voters think the richest Americans should pay more taxes.

Ever since freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) proposed a 70 percent marginal tax rate on Americans earning more than $10 million a year, Republicans have been hysterically warning that Democrats will turn the United States into a version of socialist Venezuela.

However, polls show most Americans simply don't share these fears. Taxing the ultra-rich is very, very popular, with more than three-quarters of registered voters supporting the idea.

According to a Politico/Morning Consult survey, 76 percent of registered voters say the "wealthiest Americans" should pay more in taxes. That includes a majority, 54 percent, of Republican voters. And then there's people like Trump who just skirt taxes altoghether. Pffft.

sblocal1967 Oct 06, 2020 03:48 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

In re: to why rich people pay less taxes than a McDonalds employee.
Most wealthy businesspeople do not take a paycheck in order to redistribute this savings inside the company which is then able to hire and pay employees. Rich people may go years without any taxable income. Many rich people do not start off that way as is the case with Bezos - he took many risks and worked very hard to create Amazon which in turn creates many jobs. All you mentally challenged morons talking about taxing the rich are just "takers". If you want wealth distribution then move to a socialist country - else just be happy you keep getting your government handouts and are able to enjoy a like that was built on the back of "creators".

a-1602029657 Oct 06, 2020 05:14 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

@SBLocal: I see what you're trying to say but that just doesn't shake out to your favor unless you are Jeff Bezos. Small businesses and the middle class are getting absolutely crushed by those who don't pay their fair share in taxes.

In 2019, Amazon paid a tax rate of 1.2% on $13 BILLION in pre-tax income $280.5 billion in total revenue. In 2018 and 2017, Amazon paid ZERO federal income taxes. The federal corporate tax rate is 21%. Let's imagine if Amazon paid just 10% of its required 21% tax, this would lower taxes for the middle class and small businesses and Amazon would still turn a ridiculous profit in the name of capitalism. Our tax code is broken in favor of the rich and this is something every person in the 99% can get behind. (or so I thought)

Byzantium Oct 06, 2020 05:33 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Bezos built a better mousetrap and people flocked to his door. No one was forced to financially support Bezos. People willingly gave him money for what he was offering in return. I avoid all Bezos enterprise activities which is the way to prevent him from keeping his "fair share". Don't give it to him in the first place.

a-1602031687 Oct 06, 2020 05:48 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

I can't with you Byzarre. This has nothing to do with purchasing power and everything to do with monopolistic capitalism crushing small business and the middle class with their unfair tax advantages, government bailouts, low wage workers, and cheap imported crap.

Byzantium Oct 06, 2020 06:01 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Will our congressman Salud Carbajal go after Silicon Valley billionaires under the anti-monopoly statutes already on the books? If not, why not. Is there some overly cozy relationship between Silicon Valley's financial support for Democrats, and the Democrat's hand-off approach to Silicon Valley? This has nothing to do with "capitalism". Far more to do with cronyism. Know the difference.

a-1602032851 Oct 06, 2020 06:07 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Byzzare, I'm sure you know this but Carbajal is a US Representative, not a State Senator. The US Senate is filled with GOP members who are the epitome of "cronyism" and are led by the biggest Cronie of all. You know what they say about glass houses and your beloved GOP.

Byzantium Oct 06, 2020 06:17 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

6:07 Congress writes the anti-monopoly statutes US Commerce Clause - that was the topic in discussion with 5:48. One can assume if someone is addressed in their post as Congressman Carbajal one knows they are not our state senator (Jackson), nor our state assembly woman (Limon).

biguglystick Oct 06, 2020 01:46 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Thank you for donating. For as long as I can remember I have adored the open space of the San Marcos foothills. I will be donating too, and praying that we save it. Another bunch of luxury homes is the very LAST thing Santa Barbara needs. Ughhhhhhh. No. Just NO.

Sail380 Oct 06, 2020 12:38 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Lets say the Channel Islands Restoration is successful in purchasing the land. How will they continue to pay for the cost of ownership? Developing the infrastructure so the public can utilize the area isn't cheap. Insurance isn't cheap, General maintenance and cleaning up trash from visitors isn't cheap. Will visitors even be allowed to use the property? Will it be another financial burden on the county they don't want??

Byzantium Oct 06, 2020 01:11 PM
Effort to Buy San Marcos Foothills Receives $1,000,000 Donation

Non-profit charitable ownerships takes it off the county property tax rolls. That is a current county revenue stream that would also have to be made up. County can tell you what amount of property taxes the owners are now paying. And you can calculate what new property taxes the several high end homes would generate, if developed.


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