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Carmel Pine Cone Real Estate - September 15, 2000



The Nation's premier golf resort would get up to 210 additional guest rooms--but no more on existing hotel properties--according to a plan announced this week by officials of the Pebble Beach Company.

Bill Perocchi, the company's CEO, told a Sept. 11 meeting of the board of directors of the Del Monte Forest Property Owners association that the P.B. Co. would agree to the limit if Monterey 'County voters approve Measure A in November.

His announcement came as Alan Williams, retained by the company earlier this year to refine its development plans, showed for the first time details of changes proposed for The Lodge and the Inn as Spanish
"Bay, including:

  • 58 new rooms at The Lodge, located in two new building on opposite sides of the First Fairway;
  • 91 new rooms and 14,000 square feet of meeting space in three new buildings at the Inn at Spanish Bay;
  • revised plans for a new golf course between the Pebble Beach Golf links and Spyglass Hill to avoid wetland areas and rare plant habitat;
  • a scaled-down proposal for the new equestrian center near Highway 68--including elimination of a plan to use the center for parking during special events; and
  • improvements to the congested Carmel Hill intersection of 17-Mile Drive and Highway 68, making it unnecessary to cross oncoming traffic while exiting Del Monte Forest to the north.

The latest plans drew a largely favorable response from the DMFPO board and audience members at Monday's meeting, especially in comparison to the company's previous proposal for more than 300 new homes in the Forest.

"This plan is much better than [the old one] and I can support it," said long-time P.B. Co. critic Ted Hunter.

After explaining several large exhibits depicting the new development proposals, Williams asked the property owners' group to officially endorse Measure A, which is little known outside the Monterey Peninsula and which faces an uphill battle among voters who traditionally vote No on ballot measures they aren't familiar with.

It has also been assailed by some residents of Del Monte Forest who say they oppose "zoning by initiative."

"I need your support for Measure A, and I need it as soon as possible if I'm going to counteract some of the misinformation that's being up out there," he told the DMFPO group. "If you delay your support you endanger the initiative process."

But even residents who liked what they heard from Williams seemed flummoxed by the volume of detail being released all at once. Their concerns--about things like traffic flow in front of the post office and possible loss of private views--left the DMFPO board uncertain how to proceed.

"We obviously have to listen to groups with serious questions," board member Paul Woudenberg said.

Measure A, announced June 6 by P.B. Co. co-owners Peter Ueberroth and Clint Eastwood, would eliminate almost 900 potential home sites in Del Monte Forest and put hundreds of acres of old-growth Monterey pine habitat into open space reserves.

While not specifically mentioned in Measure A, the company's plans for new hotel rooms have been presented as a quid pro quo by company officials.

"If Measure A fails, we go back to the previous plan [for 315 homes], in accordance with the voters' wishes," Williams told the DMFPO board Monday.

At the group's July meeting, board members indicated whey could officially support Measure if the company met several conditions,including capping hotel rooms, promising to build the new equestrian center before closing the old one, and providing plans showing a final build-out for development on the company's property in the Forest.

William's presentation this week seemed to satisfy those conditions.

Several DMFPO board members enthusiastically backed Williams, and agreed with him that--with election day less than two months away--quick action was needed to help get Measure A passed.

"I've gone through the plan map by map and I've seen how much land they've taken out and made open space and I think it's important for everyone to see how much isn't going to be built on," said board member Nancy McCollough.

"Getting this change from 315 homes is very important to us and very important to the environment and I don't want to see some little details get in the way," added DMFPO president Jeff Craig.

But other board members preferred to delay taking action on Measure A as a way of preserving "leverage" over possible changes to the company's development proposal.

They urged a delay until various homeowner groups in Del Monte Forest have a chance to examine the new plans in detail. And they were very concerned about the specific language of a cap on hotel rooms.

Williams explained the proposal for a cap on hotel rooms as something the company "could live with." and said it was offered in response to DMFPO concerns. The cap includes 58 new rooms at the Lodge, 91 at the Inn at Spanish Bay, 24 "golf suites" adjacent to the new golf course, plus about 35 rooms to be created in future years by reconfiguring existing hotel buildings.

"The reason we're saying 35 is to take care of interior remodeling, especially at the Lodge where some of the buildings are older," Perocchi said.

But he was also adamant that the cap of 210 total rooms could only apply to property the company currently owns--not any property it might acquire in the future. Several DMFPO members objected to the proviso.

"It just guts the agreement" limiting hotel rooms, said board member Rick Srigley.

But Craig said there would be no reason to prohibit the Pebble Beach Co. from bidding on land elsewhere in the Forest that was zoned for hotel rooms.

"Do we want them to be left out, when Marriott or Holiday Inn might step in?" Craig said.

Williams pointed out that no other property in the Forest is currently zoned for hotel rooms, and he invited the DMFPO to initiate General Plan changes that would prohibit zoning changes to expand hotel uses to other properties.

"If the community wants to pursue that, please go ahead, he said. "But we can't make a promise about property we don't own."

After nearly two hours of discussion,McCullogh abruptly made a motion to endorse Measure A without any preconditions, and urged the board to deal with "the details" later.

But she withdrew her motion after Williams encourage the board to put off taking action for two weeks, pending review of the new development plans by the traffic committee, the Spanish Bay condominium owners associations and other community groups.

Because of scheduling conflicts, the board ended up putting off further consideration of Measure A until its next regular meeting, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. at the Pebble Beach Community Services District meeting room.

The next day, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors also decided to hold its public meeting on Measure A on Oct. 9. The community workshop, at which county planners will present their analysis of Measure A, is set for 6 p.m. at the Monterey Conference Center.

"That's going to be a tiring day," Williams commented.

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