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No Homes on the Range

No Homes on the Range Supes sign off on Apple co-founder’s plans for ranchland conservation in Carmel Valley. By Sara Rubin

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tech investor and the Apple Computer co-founder Armas Clifford “Mike” Markkula, widely regarded as the adult supervision to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the company’s early days, has the county Board of Supervisors’ approval on a conservation plan for his 14,000-acre ranch.

The board voted 5-0 on Dec. 13 to approve a resubdivision of the active cattle ranch, which climbs from just above the Salinas Valley floor to near Cachagua. The lot line adjustments won’t change allowable land use, and limits building on each of 12 parcels to three homes for agricultural workers who live and work on the property.

The changes also re-upped Williamson Act ag land contracts, which offer property owners a tax break in exchange for keeping their land in agriculture. “It’s less developable now,” says the Markkulas’ land use attorney Tony Lombardo.

Lombardo says the resubdivision is part of the Markkulas’ estate planning to keep the land in conservation even if new owners acquire it in the future.

“It’s not likely 40-acre parcels in the middle of grazing land would be used for grazing,” Lombardo says. “What do you do, put one cow on it?”

Markkula, who’s kept a low media profile his entire career, began acquiring Carmel Valley property 20 years ago through his and his wife Linda’s Apple shareholder entity, Arlin Trust.

Christine Williams, president of watchdog group Carmel Valley Association, says they’re happy to have neighbors like the Markkulas. “He bought it to preserve it,” she says.

© 2012 Milestone Communications Inc. All rights reserved. Formerly the Coast Weekly newspaper.