UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

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UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation
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Las Varas Ranch (courtesy photo)

By edhat staff

Philanthropist Charles T. Munger has donated his 1,800-acre Las Varas Ranch to UC Santa Barbara (UCSB).

On Tuesday, UCSB officials announced they have received formal approval from the UC Regents to acquire the agricultural property located six miles west of the campus. The ranch extends from the Pacific Ocean to Los Padres National Forest.

“The is a great visionary gift to our campus from philanthropist Charles T. Munger, who is interested in the long-term benefit it can provide to UC Santa Barbara,” said UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang.

“We are immensely fortunate to have been entrusted with this ‘coastal jewel,’ which includes two miles of coastline,” he continued. “With more than 500 acres of pastureland, an 18-acre lake and fruit orchards, the land offers rich agricultural resources and exceptional educational opportunities.”

Yang continued to state, "for a long time, UC Santa Barbara will maintain the property in its current state as a working ranch."

Previously, in 2014, Munger designed and funded the Charles T. Munger Physics Residence, a living and collaborative environment for UCSB’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

“We are enormously grateful to Charlie Munger for blessing our campus with this fabulous gift that will benefit our university for generations to come,” said Yang. “This is much more than just a gift of land, but rather a living legacy, a vision for the long-range future of our campus.”

Yang stated he will consult with the campus community and local community on the future vision of this working ranch.

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a-1553146248 Dec 14, 2018 10:51 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Rumor making the rounds is that UCSB will pledge the preservation for Las Varas in exchange for approval to development the Bishop Ranch in Goleta (the undeveloped property between the 101, Cathedral Oaks, Los Carneros, and Glen Annie). UCSB now has plenty of water rights to trade with Las Varas now a part of their real estate portfolio.

Potif Dec 14, 2018 01:53 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Development of Bishop Ranch would be sad. Love seeing those open areas, and all the greenery.

a-1553146248 Dec 14, 2018 01:15 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

UCSB owns an option on Bishop Ranch. The developer knows that he will never be able to build on it, but UCSB can with impunity. Once he knew he couldn't build, it was always about selling to UCSB. The missing piece was that the property lacked water rights. Munger's gift of a property with significant water rights (that is not needed at Las Varas) now gives UCSB the water to leverage the development of nearby Bishop Ranch. Look for UCSB to execute the option for Bishop Ranch in the coming months. FYI, ten years or so ago the developer proposed 1,200 single family homes on Bishop Ranch. Nail in Goleta's coffin, indeed.

EastBeach Dec 14, 2018 11:10 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

What does the Larwin Company (developers of Bishop Ranch) have to do with Munger or UCSB?

a-1553146248 Dec 14, 2018 11:06 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Development of Bishop Ranch would be the nail in Goleta's coffin. This sickens me. I hope to God this is only a rumor.

yacht rocked Dec 13, 2018 05:39 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Munger could have donated it to the Nature Conservancy instead of UCSB and it would be equally locked up, with the public excluded from non-reservation visits. Reminds me of Huguette Clark's California mansion donated to Santa Barbara for the enjoyment of all, and now locked up for the few wealthy. I don't have an answer. The National Parks are overrun, the Fish & Wildlife reserves are chronically understaffed and underfunded, and most non-profits "lock her up" for themselves.

a-1553146248 Dec 14, 2018 10:45 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

The donor's wish is to get access to the property, avoid taxes, stoke his ego and generally rub his belly. The idea that the public shouldn't impose significant conditions on his tax scheme is wrong. He is just another thief and he needs to make a plea bargain like the rest of the thieves.

EastBeach Dec 14, 2018 10:24 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

"The answer" would partly depend on what the donor's wishes & conditions are wouldn't it? Funny how nobody's brought that up. Though the article does say public input will be considered - which may or may not be a mandatory condition of the gift. I'm just glad Las Vargas is going this way ... it could be much worse if it fell into the hands of the countless investors who have tried to develop Naples.

Factotum Dec 13, 2018 02:00 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Hope they use this land to build tiny houses for everyone who wants to come here and get a free seaside view. While the residents can commute to UCSB on their bikes while they work on getting their life together.

EastBeach Dec 13, 2018 12:10 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Every time I ride my bike past the Munger Physics Residence, I can't help but imagine that the gang from The Big Bang Theory are inside!

Factotum Dec 13, 2018 10:26 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Any "gift" to a public entity that takes more property off the public tax rolls is problematic when we insist on running deficit public budgets at the same time. We ultimately pay for that "gift".

RHS Dec 13, 2018 10:12 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Factotum--it is absurd to claim that 'only' 17% of wealthy people got their wealth from inheritance. First, you can't possibly know this. Second, even if you did, '17%' of the people could get 98% of the inherited wealth. Third, wealthy people use many techniques to transfer that resource before death without paying any taxes on it at ANY TIME as would most of us have to do. Their 'heirs' are grabbing an increasingly large slice of our economy while the rest of us try and get just a little 'ahead.' Society has the right to expect people to contribute to its functioning on a somewhat equitable basis but in facts the least wealthy in the US pay a larger portion of their income into taxes and government fees than do the most wealthy. This 'gift' to UCSB is a travesty. The original owners continue to do what they want with it. We lose revenue from property taxes for the indefinite future. The public has title only with extremely limited use. I am embarrassed to see my public university so willingly used in this way.

all knowing Dec 14, 2018 10:44 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Hey A...........you obviously are a Trump hater so your commentary is somewhat specious........also, quoting the NYT doesn't do much for your so-called credibility........don't be envious of people who have more than you.......be happy

all knowing Dec 14, 2018 10:45 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Hey A...........you obviously are a Trump hater so your commentary is somewhat specious........also, quoting the NYT doesn't do much for your so-called credibility........don't be envious of people who have more than you.......be happy

EastBeach Dec 14, 2018 10:39 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

@10:27AM The article you reference plus the follow-up article is here ........ https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-wealth-fred-trump.html "But an investigation by The New York Times has revealed that Donald Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire. What’s more, much of this money came to Mr. Trump through dubious tax schemes he participated in during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, The Times found. In all, the president’s parents transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate on gifts and inheritances that was in place at the time. Helped by a variety of tax dodges, the Trumps paid $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax returns show."

a-1553146248 Dec 14, 2018 10:27 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Look around you--Trump is a prime example. He got his from daddy and his kids will get theirs from daddy and none of them will pay diddly for the public good. This was the subject of a study in the New York Times which pretty much debunks your claim although I can't recall it all. If you want to complain take it up with author.

SantaBarbaraObserver Dec 13, 2018 12:49 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

A travesty? Goodness RHS. To to call a gift of this scale a travesty sure makes you out to be more than a little bitter and most certainly envious. Maybe tone down the drama for a minute and think about what has transpired. A small piece of the gorgeous Gaviota coast has been gifted to a local, public university to offer education, scientific research and the advancement of mankind and you're complaining about projected tax revenue losses? The irony is just rich. A pubic / state institution that relies on tax dollars received the gift. That is by every single measure a net positive for tax revenues.

Factotum Dec 13, 2018 10:24 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

There was a recent book with studies on this very topic - how did people acquire their wealth. Sorry I can't remember the title, but it was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal just this past year. It pretty much debunked the "trust fund baby" grievance industry. If you want facts and analysis, take it up with the author.

Factotum Dec 13, 2018 09:30 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Only 17% of wealthy people got their money from inheritances; the other 83% earned it the old fashion way by building a better mousetrap. Don't miss out getting your own share of self-made wealth by resenting the very small percentage who inherited theirs. Waste of your time. Stop making excuses for what you are not doing for yourself.

EastBeach Dec 13, 2018 01:24 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

That probably depends on how one defines "wealthy". Currently the federal exemption from estate/gift taxes is $11M per spouse. And now that the "portability" rule is in effect, the surviving spouse's estate can be free of taxes up to $22M. And CA has no state inheritance tax. So with the newer tax rules, a lot more families can pass on assets with no tax liabilities than when the cap was $5M per spouse.

Luvaduck Dec 13, 2018 08:29 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

It's a magnificent gift from someone more generous and caring than those sit on their land grant inheritances and pass it to their equally selfish off-spring. As to housing, ranches appreciate taxed as farm land until bits are pulled off and developed by people who reap tremendous profits solely from being born to a family that was given land the government seized generations ago. This one-time gift avoids the questionable ethics of its deep history since once again it is not in private hands. Instead of being jealous, be grateful.

Concerned4Calif Dec 13, 2018 08:26 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

This property was listed for $108 million dollars. Had it sold to a private party rather than donated, the new owners would probably pay around $1 million a year to our county for property taxes. Those taxes pay our fire-fighters, police and teachers. In addition, it will reduce Charlie's federal income taxes around $40 Million and California taxes around $13 million. This gift has real costs to Santa Barbara. In addition, Sedgewick is completely closed to the public except for rare guided tours for donors and friends of the university. Do not expect Las Varas will ever be open to any public use.

macpuzl Dec 13, 2018 01:18 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

KY - You seem to be confused between unrestricted access and being completely unaccessible. As Eastbeach pointed out, Sedgwick is quite available to the public. You just have to follow some commonsense rules essential to preserving the property.

EastBeach Dec 13, 2018 01:08 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

@KYKY0902 - Sedgwick is part of UC's Natural Reserve System with multiple missions to do research, teaching, and public service. It is not BLM land (thankfully, if you consider what's going on in Utah) or a National Park (chronically underfunded by Congress with huge maintenance backlogs and trampling/record visitation levels). There will be two public events at Sedgwick next month ..... http://sedgwick.nrs.ucsb.edu/events-and-classes

Kyky0902 Dec 13, 2018 12:50 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Sedgwick is most definitely NOT open to the public. Did you truly look at their website? And I quote, "DO NOT visit without having made advanced reservation or signing up for a class or special event. "

macpuzl Dec 13, 2018 09:39 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

I realize that facts don't matter to you, but Sedgwick is not closed to the public, as a simple visit to their web page would show.

Bug Girl Dec 13, 2018 07:47 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

How awesome is that! I just wish that respectful non-students like myself could visit the property and sit for a little while under some tree and watch the lake or the ocean. No dog, no cars, just sit and listen to the animals and the wind. But I'm dreaming here, because it's unlikely that many/any students of UCSB would even have that opportunity. Here's dreaming! Ag studies at UCSB now have more opportunity to grow. It would be awesome if they were to start a Student Farm like UC Davis has.

SantaBarbaraObserver Dec 13, 2018 07:25 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Wow. Only in SB would and amazingly generous donation of this scope be seen as a bad thing. Some of you people really need to get yourselves realigned. This is a gift to our local school. One of the finest universities in the world. It means that the land will never be developed. The Oceanography and Biology departments are likely very happy about the potential. But based on the naysaying and cynicism exhibited in these comments (and most comment threads for that matter) its clear that some of you folks are rotting from the inside. This is a wonderful, extremely generous gift by a man who made his money the old fashion way, he earned it. I for one say thank you Charlie! And to the naysayers among us, I say, 'bah humbug'.

RHS Dec 13, 2018 09:05 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

What credulity. These 'gifts' are tax schemes and done for selfish reasons. The property continues to be run as it was for the owner's use and enjoyment, the taxpayers lose income, the public has no access, and the general level of civic participation is corrupted further. Yang and UCSB are happy to be used like this so long as they get close to power. Sad.

yacht rocked Dec 13, 2018 07:08 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Keeping it as a working ranch "for the foreseeable future" is way different than "preservation in perpetuity" which UCSB carefully avoided committing to. I predict this will become an extension of the UCSB campus, perhaps first as a nature-focused 'retreat' and gradually a major annex.

rustydad Dec 13, 2018 06:48 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

With this acquisition and the resent purchase of the Bixby/Cojo ranches by the Nature Conservancy the California Coastal Trail will be much closer to being complete. Once the barrier through the Hollister Ranch is overcome it will almost be complete from Carpenteria to Jalama County Beach.

channelcat5 Dec 12, 2018 08:46 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Henry T Yang, just found a new Estate to live in and entertain UCSB Alumni for donations. UCSB has depleted the Goleta/Santa Barbara lifestyle immensely. Why we ever trusted them.. ? It was a horrible mistake. And now.... more power? Very sad.

a-1553146248 Dec 13, 2018 08:05 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Generous gift to untrustworthy neighbor. UCSB is not subject to any land use laws. UCSB governed by autonomous UC Regents accountable to no one - not taxpayers or voters - will eventually build with increased public pressure to admit more students. Merced or here? UCSB will keep growing and growing, turning SB into Irvine.

PitMix Dec 12, 2018 02:55 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Charles Jr is a big donor to conservative causes in California and elsewhere. Maybe this gift to the UC from his Dad will offset some of the damage he has done.

PitMix Dec 13, 2018 08:33 AM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Actual damage to our society is being caused by rich people who have never earned the money given to them by their parents supporting conservative causes such as charter schools, pro-gun legislation, anti-health care legislation, and climate change deniers. Charles Jr is a big donor to several of those things. It would be great if my views and your views didn't have actual consequences, but they do.

420722 Dec 12, 2018 04:25 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

What exactly were the damages? Simply because they go against your views or was there actual damage done by as a result of his donations?

mgm Dec 12, 2018 02:10 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

"for a long time, UC Santa Barbara will maintain the property in its current state as a working ranch." Who's going to define, "for a long time"?

a-1553146248 Dec 12, 2018 01:19 PM
UCSB Receives 1,800 Acre Donation

Yeah call me cynical but I don't have much faith in UCSB successfully maintaining this as a working ranch

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