An Open Letter to the Mabee Family Trustees


Dear Mabee Family Trustees:

On behalf of over 900 of your neighbors who have signed a petition opposing the proposed Rancho Librado project, we respectfully request that you stop your proposal to irrevocably alter the rural character of the area with Rancho Librado’s high-density development. The uniqueness of Rancho Santa Fe is based primarily on our rural enclave environment, and the rolling hills with large properties. That is what makes us so very desirable to existing residents, and future property owners. If we change this basic tenet of our community, then we will have irrevocably lost that which makes this community unique, which helps preserve our high property values.

Instead, pursue something more fitting for our community, without a nearly 400% density increase, and without the need for a General Plan Amendment and required Major Land Use Permit.

The current prevailing County zoning is SR-2: A MAXIMUM of one dwelling per 2 to 8 acres. Rancho Librado proposes an important change to the County’s General Plan, and requires a major land use permit to allow one dwelling per half acre: a nearly 400 percent increase in density. The Rancho Librado proposal includes Casitas on estimated 5,000 square foot lots, which are highly inconsistent with the local community’s 3-acre to 12-acre neighboring home sites. If such a densification were to be approved, it would set a dangerous precedent. Other property owners with large holdings in and around the San Dieguito River Valley could soon follow with their own densification projects, adding to traffic, public service costs, and other negative impacts.

The Rancho Librado team presented its ostensible benefits at several public meetings. However, very few people would benefit from the 50 Casitas offered for sale if this project were to be approved. What about the thousands of neighbors and those in surrounding communities? Your project would forever adversely change the entrance to Rancho Santa Fe, setting in motion an irreversible process for further dense developments.

When Larry Mabee bought the property three years ago, neighbors were pleased to hear his plans for an equestrian estate, as the site had survived multiple previous attempts at densification. Everyone in the community applauded Larry Mabee’s intentions to build a world class horse breeding farm on the site, because of his acknowledged reputation – in business, in the community, and in his personal pursuits. The equestrian estate would have been a welcome addition because it would have complemented the large home sites scattered on rolling hillsides in and around the valley.

We respectfully encourage the Mabee Trustees to consider the negative impact of this project to our community’s very rare and increasingly endangered zoning standards, and we ask that you please:

  • Abandon this attempt to increase the density of this site by 400%, thus creating a dense development in rural area.

  • Respect the Fairbanks Ranch HOA Board, the Whispering Palms Community Council, and over 900 of your neighbors who have publicly opposed this density increase via letters or petition signatures.

  • Preserve the rural nature of our community by following the current County acreage standards as specified in the General Plan 2020 documents, which provide for building up to a maximum of 14 estates on minimum 2 acre lot sizes.

  • Ensure our community continues to be one of the best places in the world to live for many more generations – a rural community and serene environment we hope you have come to value as much as we do.


Neighbors for San Dieguito River Valley Preservation

Representative list of members:

Susan & David Allred
Alchera & Willy Ayyad
Lisa Bartlett
Kay & Buck Bennett
Melanie Brooks
Olga & Denis Capelson
Chaco Clotfelter
Cutter Clotfelter
Yvette Diuri
Sarah & Jon Kelly
Susan & Rob Lankford
Carole & Ken Markstein
Beth & Mark Nelson
Catherine & Art Nicholas
Chrissy & Rick Nicholas
Carole & Russ Penniman
Joan & George Scott
Marie & Saiid Zarrabian

Rancho Librado proposes to increase density by nearly 4 fold. As evident from the aerial rendering below, this project’s density is totally inconsistent with the local community, and Rancho Santa Fe’s rural zoning standards.