December 2015

2015 … The Year in Review

The day we knew was coming, but wouldn’t welcome, arrived.
In late July a group with the same members who circulated development plans for More Mesa three years ago, announced that they represented the Kalid Saud Al Shebaily Group (KSSG), owners of More Mesa.

The new group’s opening salvo came in the form of objections to a number of the provisions in the updated Eastern Goleta Valley Plan (EGVP). This salvo was summarily rejected by the County. Later in the year, at a subsequent Board of Supervisors Meeting on the EGVP, a local representative of KSSG said, “We do support adoption of the plan and note that there are no proposed changes affecting the More Mesa property.” However, later in his testimony, the same speaker remarked that some of the development standards needed to be revisited at a later time … a phrase that would seem to indicate that the owner really did not agree with the fact that there were no proposed changes.

Drought etc.
The record-breaking drought we have been experiencing occupied our thoughts and concerns for most of the year. We reported its effect on birds, plants and animals as well as increased danger from falling trees and eroding cliffs. Because our geographical area experiences regular cycles of drought and floods and an El Niño is predicted for this winter, we have added a special feature on this weather phenomena on our web site.

White-tailed Kites Have the Last Word!
All through the spring and summer breeding seasons we looked in vain for signs of kites and kite nesting. This continuing disappointment was reported in several monthly newsletters. We despaired that 2015 would be the fourth “no chick” year for More Mesa. But in late summer the kites had apparently found a way! Four kites were spotted on the west side of More Mesa and even more exciting was the presence of three juveniles in the group. These three appear to have moved on, but a pair of adults still remain with us.

Plans for 2016
Despite mixed signals from the developers, 2016 is likely to be the year that our fight against development of More Mesa begins in earnest. We need to prepare. Therefore, we plan to raise $150,000 as a contingency campaign fund soon after we finish our planning in early 2016. I will be sure to keep you updated on developments.

As always … thank you all for your wonderful support, and for loving this very special place. Our warmest holiday wishes.

Valerie Olson
More Mesa Preservation Coalition.