Save San Marcos Foothills reaches agreement with Chadmar Group

Attorney+Marc+Chytilo+announces+a+new+plan+to+buy+the+San+Marcos+Foothills+Preserve+land+on+March+10%2C+2021%2C+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+The+Save+San+Marcos+Foothills+organization+has+been+given+90+days+to+raise+%2418+million.

Cole Federbusch

Attorney Marc Chytilo announces a new plan to buy the San Marcos Foothills Preserve land on March 10, 2021, in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Save San Marcos Foothills organization has been given 90 days to raise $18 million.

Cole Federbusch, Staff Writer

A 90-day option for the purchase of the San Marcos Foothills has been granted to the local grassroots organization Save San Marcos Foothills by the Chadmar Real Estate development group.

This announcement comes after a prolonged legal battle, eight arrests and multiple days of sit-in protests by Santa Barbara residents. The agreement was settled at $18 million. 

However, an additional $2 million is needed to fund the cause. The purchase would protect the indigenous land from all future renovations. 

Fundraising is being organized by the Santa Barbara Foundation and $1.7 million was raised on the first day.

In a joint statement released Wednesday, Chadmar Real Estate said they support the Save San Marcos Foothills team goal of land preservation and made this offer in the spirit of community.  

Supporters gather at the mouth of the San Marcos Foothills for the announcement given by Save San Marcos Foothills attorney Marc Chytilo at noon on March 10, 2021, at San Marcos Foothills Preserve in Santa Barbara, Calif. Some of the supporters saw the new opportunity to purchase the land as a positive step towards preservation while the other portion left the announcement frustrated with the short time allotted for the large financial goal.
Supporters gather at the mouth of the San Marcos Foothills for the announcement given by Save San Marcos Foothills attorney Marc Chytilo at noon on March 10, 2021, at San Marcos Foothills Preserve in Santa Barbara, Calif. Some of the supporters saw the new opportunity to purchase the land as a positive step towards preservation while the other portion left the announcement frustrated with the short time allotted for the large financial goal. (Cole Federbusch)

“We all have to come together in order to raise this money and save this important land,” said Marc Chytilo, the attorney representing Save San Marcos Foothills. “The agreement is the product of a very extensive effort from the community. 

Chytilo said the vision is to purchase the property, place a permanent restriction on development and establish an interest-bearing endowment that will fund long-term habitat restoration and management.

Chytilo said that this opportunity was made possible through the generosity of the Chadmar group, but he also said the settlement was “a bargain for exchange.”

“If we are not able to raise the $18 million in 90 days there will be no further objections and construction will begin,” said Chytilo. 

He also said that the Chadmar group will be conducting soil samples before the 90 days commence. 

“The group has agreed to fix the damages these samples will cause but only if we meet the fundraising requirement,” said Chytilo

Keli Lopez, a member of the local Chumash community, said that she is skeptical about the intentions of the real estate group and that they have no legal obligations to conduct samples.

“We were sitting here for 12 straight days and some of us were arrested, the group has not thanked or even communicated with any of us,” said Lopez. “If the Chadmar group really cares about the land they wouldn’t do anything to harm it.” 

Lopez also said that when the group saw how willing protesters were to be arrested on behalf of protecting the land, they switched stances.

“I know they have lawyers who are in place to deal with objectors like us,” said Lopez. “Regardless of money, we will stand.”  

The website for donation towards the efforts is FoothillsForever.org