As a longtime resident of the Santa Margarita area, a member of the Santa Margarita Area Advisory Committee (SMAAC), and a member of the SMAAC Ranch subcommittee, I would like to provide my perspective regarding the time and effort that has been put forth by the owners of the Santa Margarita Ranch to reach a compromise for development on the ranch.
The owners of Santa Margarita Ranch have participated in countless meetings with the community through open community forums and through attendance, presentations, and updates at the monthly SMAAC meetings.& As a member of the ranch subcommittee, I personally reviewed the EIR for the project and our committee made a recommendation to support the project to the advisory council after reviewing the project and considering its potential environmental impacts.
After countless meetings and over four years of project review, SMAAC, the local elected advisory group, voted 9-3 to support the project. As a member of SMAAC and a close neighbor of the ranch, I voted to support the project for the following reasons: The project will preserve more than 3,620 acres in open space in conservation easements forever its design will protect our rural character by preserving the view- sheds of Highway 58 and Pozo Road and lastly it will continue to keep the property in agriculture, which is the real purpose of the ag cluster.
The Board of Supervisors did the right thing in approving the ag cluster and I want to thank them for listening to the local community and not being swayed by the testimony from special interest groups and others who do not live in nor have a stake in the Santa Margarita area.