Santa Barbara County Action Network urges you to help save some of the last native grassland on the Central Coast.
The San Marcos Foothills provides essential habitats for a number of significant species including white-tailed kites, hawks, burrowing owls, tarantulas, coyotes, and more.
This habitat is threatened by the impending development of eight multi-million dollar luxury homes.
A community advocacy group, Save San Marcos Foothills, is fighting to preserve the entirety of the San Marcos Foothills and stop the Chadmar Group's development of several multi-million dollar homes on 101 acres on the West Mesa.
SBCAN endorses Save San Marcos Foothills's efforts.
The developer received permits to develop these homes 15 years ago. At the time, 200 acres of this area were donated to be managed by the county, now known as the San Marco Foothills Preserve. The remaining 101 acres are now at risk of being developed, and the preserve is at risk due to the potential adjacent development and the placement of a water line through the preserve.
A lot has changed since the permits were issued, including an increased risk of wildfire, this area having been the site of the Cave fire just a few years ago.
SBCAN opposes this development and seeks to prevent the degradation of the visual resources of the foothills, to prevent development in extreme fire hazard areas, to protect open space and cultural and historic resources, and to respect indigenous peoples' request to leave the land undeveloped.
For the past few weeks, protesters have been sitting in at the entrance to the foothills, and dozens of people have been camping out to protect this land in case the developer tries to begin construction.
A few weeks ago, bulldozers showed up to attempt to build an access road, but the protesters successfully stood their ground and the construction workers left the land untouched. However, several Chumash women were arrested for singing songs of protection for the land they consider sacred and culturally significant. Thankfully they were released and the charges have been dropped.
Yesterday, it was announced that the developer agreed to pause construction and sell the land to the community for $18 million dollars.
The community now has 90 days to raise $18 million, plus another $2 million to fund the fundraising campaign itself. If this goal is not met in 90 days, the developer will be free to resume construction.
The Foothills Forever Fund is hosted by the Santa Barbara Foundation; $1.5 million has already been raised by almost 1,000 donors, and we are now counting on the Santa Barbara community to come together to raise the rest of the funds.
To support this effort, we are asking you to contribute and to spread the word about the Foothills Forever fund.
For more information about tax-deductible contributions to the fundraiser and where to make a donation, please visit https://www.foothillsforever.org/
Also, if you haven't visited the San Marcos Foothills Preserve, please do! It is a treasure of the South Coast, and it is amazing to see the continued support of the community around this effort.