Can This Huge Chunk of Undeveloped Coastline Be Preserved?

The 265-acre coastal parcel known as More Mesa, between Goleta and Hope Ranch, has hit the market for $65 million.

According to Noozhawk, “a Saudi Arabia–based real estate developer, Khalid S. Al Shobily LLC, purchased the property in 2012 for $25 million.” The new asking price isn’t just a huge jump; it’s also likely a pipe dream, given the environmental and public-access restrictions on the site. (The listing tries to explain: “It is made up of legally subdivided 6 lots yet physically it is one single lot. Although the requirement in that location is 30% of the size of this land can be a buildable area being 80 acres yet the county compelled by the environmentalists to allow only 15% being 40 acres.”)

Meanwhile, the More Mesa Preservation Coalition continues to push for the land to be preserved as public space: “Our long-term goal is to work cooperatively with the site’s private owner, government agencies and the community, in order to purchase the remaining 265 acres for long term preservation. The entirety of More Mesa and its beach could then be managed as a nature park, protecting both the habitat and recreational values of this incredible site.”

If you’ve never been to More Mesa, it’s worth a visit. California Beaches has a helpful description of how to access it from Mockingbird Lane. The photos below show the journey from the entrance, through a wide plain that’s probably more attractive when there’s been recent rain, and down the bluff to the beach. The area to the right as you descend the makeshift stairs is clothing optional. One does have to wonder whether developing the land above would lead to residents asking the police to crack down on nudists, which would be a shame.