Truth in Advertising for the San Marcos Foothills West Estates
By Julia Laraway
To Those Who Would BUY an “Estate” at the San Marcos Foothills West Property:
In the spirit of full disclosure about the environment surrounding your new home, this letter will address three issues: the wildlife that lives on the property, the weather and the threat of wildfire.
The animals found in the foothills range from harmless prey to apex predator. Smaller, less visible creatures are gophers and ground squirrels. In any given square yard, there are between one and two gopher or ground squirrel burrows. They are darling little animals, and absolutely willing to eat every last one of your plants, be they vegetable or ornamental. Other less visible, and less darling, animals are the tarantula and the rattlesnake. Tarantulas are big, hairy spiders and while they look ferocious are not venomous. Rattlesnakes on the other hand are venomous and do pose a danger to you and your pets. Among the larger animals, there are bobcats, mountain lions and coyotes. All three of these predators have been sighted regularly on the property and all enjoy a tasty snack of gopher and ground squirrel. They would also make a meal of your cat, small to midsize dog or puppy, chickens or baby goats. There are also all manner of birds that will serenade you at all hours of the day and night. This is lovely if you like that sort of thing, but it just might keep you awake all night if you are used to the sounds of the city. Coyotes tend to howl as well, so be aware of that.
Regarding the weather that you will be experiencing after you settle into your new estate, it will not be the temperate climate for which the City of Santa Barbara is so famous. As advertised, your home sits on the largest debris flow recorded in the Santa Barbara area. The lots on the upper mesa are at elevations 400 to 700 feet above sea level and are roughly 3.5 miles from the coast. Our temperature tracking weather station is at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport which is at sea level and roughly a quarter mile from the Pacific Ocean. The temperature reading at the Airport is generally 10 degrees F cooler than it is on the upper mesa at the San Marcos Foothills. You and your lovely home will be subjected to temperatures that reach into the low 90’s in August, and commonly into the high 90s and low 100s in the months of September and October. Additionally, April and May have those types of temperatures occasionally before the June Gloom sets in. The upper mesa is also in the direct path of our local sundowner winds that roar down the San Marcos Pass and the front country of the Santa Ynez Mountains, sucking all the moisture from the surrounding vegetation.
Which brings us to FIRE danger. The upper mesa of the San Marcos Foothills burned in the Cave Fire on November 25, 2019. People who live in homes above Foothill Road have evacuated for fires in 2014, 2013, 2011 and 2009. You are buying a home in the path of barreling winds that suck moisture from the air and vegetation and raise the air temperature precipitously in a short amount of time. One spark can spell destruction, and it regularly has here in Santa Barbara.
If you find that the view is worth it, may you enjoy rattlesnake sightings and the sweltering fall days, and remember to have a go-bag ready and waiting in your car at all times for as long as you live in your “estate."
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