Santa Margarita Ranch

San Luis Obispo County

Voluntary Mitigation with Viewshed & Habitat Protection

The historic Santa Margarita Ranch began as an asestencia of the San Luis Obispo Mission in 1774. In 1841, a few years after secularization, it was offered as a Mexican Land Grant and today large portions of this spectacular 14,000-acre rancho remain an operating cattle and farming ranch.  The northern most segment of the ranch was subdivided in June 1922 into 35 parcels each consisting of approximately 20 acres.  Each 20-acre parcel could have been sold with the right to build two homes, plus further subdivision. Those parcels extended across 550 acres of farm fields, grasslands, and wetlands and along Highway 101 for over 3,500 feet. Working with California Rangeland Trust, the new landowners, the Rob Rossi family, voluntarily reduced the parcels sizes to 5 acres each and permanently limited each parcel to one home. The consolidated tract was moved away from the scenic Highway 101 corridor. In addition, around the perimeter of the reduced subdivision, the landowner donated a trail for public use, which has the potential to be linked to other trails in the future. This resourceful planning created a parcel of 353 acres with a 333-acre conservation easement, which the landowner donated to California Rangeland Trust, to be permanently maintained in a combination of farming, grazing and natural habitat.