Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development title=
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development
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By edhat staff

Eight local activists were arrested during a "sit-in" to prevent the construction of the San Marcos Foothills.

The event started on Wednesday afternoon and continued into Thursday at the end of Via Gaitero off Highway 154 near the "Bridge to Nowhere."

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office reported eight people were arrested and an additional person was cited.

The San Marcos Foothills Preserve is a protected area of 200 acres between Santa Barbara and Goleta in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The Save San Marcos Foothills nonprofit has been attempting to purchase a parcel of undeveloped open space adjacent to the preserve that's scheduled to have eight homes built on the West Mesa.

Videos posted online showed approximately 20-30 people standing near the gate holding signs, some singing indigenous chants stating they are protecting native land and animals. Activists remained in the area overnight and into Thursday morning.

"Deputies became aware of the protest around 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, when contractors called to report a potential for conflict with the protesters at a construction site on the north end of Via Gaitero. Deputies monitored the area overnight," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "This morning, as construction equipment arrived, several people prevented the contractors from accessing private property at the north end of Via Gaitero."

The Sheriff's Office stated protesters "willfully obstructed the free movement of the contractors, who were in possession of a valid permit to access and work on the property."

A video posted on social media showed two bulldozers parked near several Sheriff's vehicles facing the protestors. Sheriff Sgt. Calderon introduced himself to the crowd and stated he appreciated what everyone was doing but the crew behind him had a job to do and they will be bringing equipment through the area. He asked for voluntary compliance for the group to move out of the way or else people will be arrested and booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Six women and two men were arrested on the scene and transported to the County Main Jail at 7:19 a.m. All were booked for willfully obstructing the free movement of any person, a misdemeanor violation. A man received the same citation for using a V-arm tube to chain himself to a gate post at the entrance to the property.

"No force other than handcuffing was used to effect the arrests, and no protesters or deputies were injured during the incident," the Sheriff's Office states. "After the booking process, each arrestee was issued a citation and released from jail upon their promise to appear in court."

Deputies remained on scene until shortly after noon Thursday, when the contractor and protesters arrived at an agreement and law enforcement was no longer needed to access the property, said the Sheriff's Office.

An Instagram account titled "savethesanmarcosfoothills" stated they are asking the developers of the project to pause the construction and give the community more time to raise money to purchase the foothills. 

The Chadmar Group, developers of the project, purchased the 350 acres of foothills in 2005 with the intent of donating 300 acres to the county. This current project would be 25 acres. 

[Ed Note: This article has been updated with information from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office]

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ChillinGrillin Feb 25, 2021 01:12 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

The developers agreed to preserve a fraction of that. Is that really your argument, that developers are how we preserve things? Pearl Chase and people who saved SB from becoming an extension of LA are rolling in their graves watching fools like you become the voice of "conservatives." Pathetic.

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 12:15 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Chillin -

THE PRESERVE IS HERE TO STAY FOREVER BECAUSE OF THESE 8 HOUSES!!! What do you not understand about that???? This was private land that made an agreement to create a 300 acre preserve for all to enjoy...and through that be allowed to build 8 houses on their property. And what would you have the police do...fight for whatever cause they personally believe instead of enforcing the law???

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 12:52 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Fair enough!!! And I hope someone comes up with they money (and seemingly that needs to happen immediately) to buy this property and fully "preserve" it...but in the mean time, I'll be there this weekend with the kids to wander around and enjoy this once private and now open public space!

And while I am feeling a little argumentative (pitmix on another thread wondered what could possibly be the harm in 3 more months remote....grrrrr), I do have to say that berating and cursing out the police in this situation/capacity is wrong. I can see protesting and being upset, but cursing out the police and making their lives worse/harder just for doing their jobs in a seemingly calm and compassionate manner is wrong.

Sail380 Feb 25, 2021 12:11 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

PITMIX Are the homes on the other side of 154 in any less danger? Protesters should be stationed over there in case anyone wants to develop and build a house. Including the construction workers this development will bring long term employment to many people. Maintenance and repair, Landscape, appliance and home furnishing sales. This is what the community need to help recover from the lockdown..

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 12:05 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Sac - you are wrong here. The owner of this property made a deal to give up 300 acres to create a preserve for all of sb! This was private fenced off land. The deal was, donate the land and some money for its maintenance and then be allows to build 8 houses. This was a huge win for environmentalists when it happened 15 years ago... do you not remember that? To now not let them build would be akin to theft. The deal was very anti building... they wanted a lot more houses. This truly is the definition of a win win...

sacjon Feb 25, 2021 11:46 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

DUKE - we don't need 8 more houses in SB, especially not at the cost of even 25 acres of precious and rare open space. The didn't "give up" anything, in order to purchase the land, they were required to donate part. Please don't start a pity party for the poor developers who are just trying to be generous.....

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 11:24 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Because someone gave up 300 acres of their property along with funding to create the preserve with the deal being they could build 8 homes... that was a huge win for everyone as they wanted quite a few more homes than that. To steal that ability now is literally that... theft! You are in essence penalizing them because they had to create the preserve first...

PitLocal Feb 25, 2021 11:06 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

I stand with and applaud the efforts those who are protesting the development of the San Marcos Preserve and the land surrounding it. Their sentiment reflects the true spirit of the Santa Barbara community and what makes it special.

"The rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another . . . But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit — in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all." - Garrett Hardin

Be it a herdsman adding to his herd, or a developer adding another development, and the profit derived therefrom to his pocket, the result is the same - degradation of the environment and destruction of our open space - which affects us all.

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 01:25 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

The owner wanted more houses (obviously) than 8. To get that though they had to donate 300 acres to become the preserve. They literally gave up almost everything...to get those 8 houses. So what I was saying is that we already got almost everything from this property (the 300 acres of preserve)...to demand that they not then be able to build the 8 houses would be taking "everything".

So no, the owner didn't give it as a gift...but a lot was extracted from them to have the right to build 8 houses. So yes...it was a huge win for SB...a great trade! So to now be upset that 8 houses are being built is the height of hypocrisy and lunacy. We got almost everything from this property...and in exchange they are going to build 8 houses. That's a insignificant price to pay for this cherished piece of now public land.

Alexblue Feb 25, 2021 01:14 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Duke what do you mean “this is people who took almost everything now wanting to take everything”?

What?

Not knowing the details of the deal for the original acquisition and permitting, I’d be willing g to put money down that the developer did a tax deal on that original project that got them millions in tax credits to put that land in to a conservation trust. You really think the developer just donated it as a straight gift? Unlikely. Beyond that, I think that if this was the deal structure, it’s a good deal for SB and trading development rights for 8 sites is reasonable.

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 11:16 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Pit - it’s the opposite here though! Practically every possible concession was given from this private land 15 years ago to build these 8 houses. From that came the preserve that we all enjoy. This is people who are already took almost everything... now moving the goal post and wanting to literally take everything! Perhaps you are of the mistaken belief that this is a development out of a preserve... when it is the opposite... from a development a beautiful preserve was created.

dukemunson Feb 26, 2021 11:11 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Big Ugly- This isn't a beautiful open space nature preserve! It's private land that was a dairy farm and cattle ranch that, in an agreement to build some houses CREATED a preserve for all to enjoy and 5 truly affordable houses. Ridiculous statement and thought process. This a great community spot that EXISTS because of this development (plus it actually netted 5 affordable houses that sold for 171k). Truly (and somewhat humorously) bizarre righteous indignation. Fight the monstrosities being proposed on Milpas and Cota...but this was a win-win for everyone!

biguglystick Feb 26, 2021 11:05 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

THANK YOU, SacJon. Affordable housing solutions we DO need, that's why they should convert the Sears building or the old Macy's into low income housing.... but 8 luxury mansions?? NOOooo. We sure af don't need that! Especially from OUT OF TOWN DEVELOPERS! No way!

biguglystick Feb 26, 2021 11:04 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

It's BLABBER. It's preposterous to propose that people tear down their already built homes, many of them built over 100 years ago. Give us all a break. But we CAN fight to protect remaining open spaces, especially from luxury McMansions that Santa Barbara needs like it needs a hole in the head.
There are a whole lot of us who live here who do NOT want these luxury homes built on this beautiful open space nature preserve. I'm a 4th generation Native Californian, and I've seen firsthand, the ruinous effects of wealthy development companies coming in and destroying the beauty of our town, OUR LAND. The Cadmar group is based in LA. KEEP LA 100 miles away!

Channelfog Feb 26, 2021 02:52 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

What we need is ZERO new homes. Effective low income housing in SB has been, and always will be a pipe dream. Roads packed: check, waves packed:check, lack of/cost of water: check and the lost views of a spectacular skyline. ZERO BUILD! That being said, this is a legal project and it is sad that the protest was pushed to the point of arrests. Zero build needs to come from the citizens through the local government and that will never happen given financial interests and federal growth mandates.

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 04:57 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

So... this deal got us a beautiful preserve and 5 truly affordable units... what the hell are you talking about!!! This wasn’t land “we had”! It was private land used as a dairy farm and cattle ranch over the years. From that we got a preserve and 5 affordable units...

ConservativeSB Feb 25, 2021 11:51 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Thank you for getting back on point. Ill admit I digressed. I'll point out your HRC tone "at this what difference does it make?" in your "so what?". If you think this county has "a little open space" you need to get out more. And they're developing 25 acres of the 350 they originally purchased. They literally donated 300 acres to create the preserve. If your argument is zero new houses are allowed to be built, then we cannot argue this because your argument is about homes being built and not where they're being built.

sacjon Feb 25, 2021 11:43 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

CONSERVATIVE - Those examples are not what we're talking about, those ARE hypocritical. But, protesting the development of our precious open space does not mean you can't live in a house. Yeah, at one point ALL of our country was open space, so what? Does that mean we can't protest against the development of the little open space we have left? Do we really need 8 more houses in this town? No.

ConservativeSB Feb 25, 2021 11:36 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

It's not blabber. It is the height of hypocrisy. The literal definition of hypocrisy is your quote "you can't protest if you use something you're protesting about". Another example is "you can't dine indoors but I will". Or "you can't go to a hair salon but I will".

sacjon Feb 25, 2021 11:23 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

CONSERVATIVESB - ah yes, the old "you can't protest if you use something you're protesting about" blabber you cons love to spout off about. So now you acknowledge that the land we all live on doesn't belong to us? Heck, I'm pretty liberal and I don't even believe that. Way to be more progressive!

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 11:26 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

The police? There is one thing to protest something... but that doesn’t really allow or excuse you to treat the police officers who have orders and laws to follow from doing their jobs. Fight it in court... but berating the police who are calmly doing their job is wrong.

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