February 2007

More Mesa For Sale
Many of you may have heard More Mesa is for sale.  This does not come as a surprise to us at the More Mesa Preservation Coalition (MMPC), since there have been persistent rumors to that effect for several months.  With the official listing of the property, it is now clear that the owner, Mr. Earl Holding has definitely decided to sell More Mesa.  The asking price, $110 Million, is a very large number!  It is difficult to imagine that a sale at such a price will be easily accomplished.

Ecological Importance
The County and State Coastal Commission have identified More Mesa as having significant  ecological value and importance.  More Mesa is even more significant since it is the last remaining large coastal open space in the Goleta Valley.  Of its 265 total acres, 225 have been identified Environmentally Sensitive Habitat (ESH).  This means that, currently, only 40 acres (see Development Threat) are permitted to be developed (up to 70 houses).  Further, the County has identified environmentally sensitive resources within these 40 acres: a vernal pool, wetlands and nearby white-tailed kite roosts and nests.  For all these reasons, any proposed development, even within these 40 acres, would have to address substantial environmental issues.

A Community Treasure:  For more than six decades, More Mesa has held a very special place in the heart of the Santa Barbara community.  MMPC, founded in 2000, currently has 800 supporters specifically committed to preserving More Mesa.  Other environmental organizations and community members share this mission as well.  Any future development proposal is sure to raise substantial citizen concerns from well organized and active community groups.

What Now?:  The offering of a property for sale does not mean any development has yet been proposed.  It means there may be a new owner some time in the future.  Moreover, it is not obvious that $110 Million would be the actual sales price, when adopted plans restrict development to 40 acres. At present, the MMPC will wait to see what transpires.  In the recent past, environmental and conservation organizations, including MMPC, have engaged in various discussions centered around potential purchase of More Mesa for purposes of preservation.  That process will continue.

What You Can Do to Help

  • Stay informed by visiting our web  site and checking the monthly news.
  • Raise awareness of the value of More Mesa to our community by talking to your neighbors and friends about what More Mesa means to all of us.
  • Become familiar with More Mesa and educate others about its ecological and recreational value to the community.
  • Encourage people to sign up as More Mesa Preservation Coalition supporters by e-mailing us via the Contact page. As always, thank you all for caring about More Mesa!!

Crested Caracaras are rare in Santa Barbara County. On Friday, February 2nd, a Caracara was photographed by David Levasheff in the south-west corner of More Mesa.
Larger pictures and a story of the encounter can be found here.