<Work begins on EIR for P.B. Co. plans

Carmel Pine Cone Real Estate - September 27, 2002

Work begins on EIR for P.B. Co. plans

The Public had its first crack at Pebble Beach Company's proposal for build out in Del Monte Forest when planners from several government agencies assembled Sept. 25 to hear public comments on what the project's Environmental Impact Report should study.

The P.B. company's plans, outlined in detail by county planner Thom McCue, include a new equestrian center, a new golf course between Peter Hay and Spyglass Hill with 11 cottages for visitors, a new driving range and gold instruction building at Spanish Bay, 150 new hotel rooms at Spanish Bay and the Lodge along with new meeting facilities, 60 employee housing units, 33 residential lots in several subdivisions and three new homes on existing lots, underground parking garages, new trails, road improvements, new sewer and water lines, and protected open space.

The plan replaces a long-standing proposal for hundreds of new homes throughout Del Monte Forest. An extensive EIR on that proposal was completed in 1995.

Voters approved the zoning changes and open space dedications required for the new proposal in a ballot initiative in November 2000. More than 68 percent of Del Monte Forest residents approved the measure.

Jones & Stokes will prepare the EIR, which McCue said will address impacts on aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology, land use and planning, noise, public services, recreation, transportation, traffic, and utilities and services.

With such an exhaustive list, many were hard-pressed to find any study areas to add, but several people aired specific concerns.

There does not appear to be any tie-in with the former development at Spanish Bay--the conditions for approval of that project and whether they have been complied with, attorney Fran Farina said, adding that the proposed site for the new equestrian center is supposed to be in permanent scenic easement. She also suggested the consultants take a careful look at the water reclamation project in the forest.

One 30-year resident of Pebble Beach said whatever the impacts, they will be less than what had been anticipated prior to the passage of Measure A.

"The reduction in density from the 1,000 additional houses that were expected and permitted when I moved in here is substantially reducing all the impacts this program will have and adding substantially to open space," he said.

Several members of Concerned Residents of Pebble Beach also spoke, including Ted Hunter, past president of the Del Monte Forest Property Owners Association and a member of the forest's land use advisory committee. He said the project is too big and the EIR must provide mitigation measures and call for phased construction.

"The number of underground garages, a golf course, the new equestrian center and all of this happening in the next five years will be disastrous for the community," he maintained.

Representatives from the county's planning, public works, water resources and environmental health departments; California coastal Commission' Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District; Monterey Peninsula Water Management District; and California Department of Forestry -- all of which will be involved in the environmental review and decision-making process--attended but did not comment on the EIR.

McCue also encouraged people to comment on the scope of the EIR by writing to the Monterey County Planning Department, 2620 First Ave., Marina, CA 93933, by October 15. He outlined the schedule and said ample opportunities for more public input lie ahead.

A draft I|EIR would be circulated to government agencies by Thanksgiving, and revised and released by the end of the year for 45 days for public review.

Members of the LUAC, the planning commission and the board of supervisors are set to tour the sites March 11, but hearings would not commence until after the final EIR is released May 9.

The LUAC's hearing is set for May 30; the subdivision committee is scheduled to consider the project June 26, and the planning commission will hear it July 26, according to McCue.

[Top of page]