Board of Supervisors' Meeting January 14, 1986
Spanish Bay Development - Sawmill Gulch Conditions

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Monterey Herald - January 15, 1986
Board of Supervisors' Meeting January 14, 1986
Spanish Bay Development - Sawmill Gulch Conditions

A controversial proposal to bring sand by conveyor belt to the Spanish Bay development in Pebble Beach won unanimous approval from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors last night, but in a way designed to kill plans for a sewage treatment and reclamation project on the sand mining site.

The board, in a 5-0 vote at the end of three hours of public testimony, also conditioned its approval so that if any part of the conveyor belt permit is overturned in court, the entire permit is invalidated.

That would force the Pebble Beach Co., to find sand for its resort development outside the Del Monte Forest and haul in the sand by truck. It would also leave open the issue of whether a reclamation project could be built in the Sawmill Gulch area adjacent to the Del Monte Park neighborhood in Pacific Grove.

The Supervisors will take final action on the permit, which had been appealed by residents of the Del Monte Park area, at a 1:30 p.m. hearing on Jan. 28.

But board members were clearly pleased with the Solomon-like compromise offered by 1st District Supervisor Marc Del Piero, which is designed to keep sand-hauling trucks off roads and out of neighborhoods, and to allay concerns of Pacific Grove residents that they would find themselves with a treatment plant near their homes.

The conditions accepted by the board in concept would require the Pebble Beach Co., to revegetate the sand mining pit at Sawmill Gulch and the swath cut through the forest by the conveyor belt once the mining operation is completed.

They would also require the company to grant a scenic easement to the County for the sand pit and the conveyor route, and to forbid any other development of the property.

They would "assure that no sewage treatment plant (is built) at the borrow site under any circumstances," Del Piero said.

Neither representatives of the company nor the Del Monte Park residents were sure last night if the conditions were acceptable.

"I'm sort of shell-shocked," said Steve Elmer, director of real estate operations for the Pebble Beach Co., "We'll have to analyze the impact."

Karen Perling, chief spokesman for the Concerned Neighbors of Del Monte Park, said the neighbors

would "have to reflect" on the board's action.

But, she said, "It seems what we have accomplished tonight is to kill the sewer plan. That we are very happy about"

Del Piero said that revegetation and creation of a scenic easement would compensate for the "loss of thousands of trees" that will be cut so that the conveyor belt can haul sand for six months.

The sand will be used to recreate dunes mined at Spanish Bay by Pebble Beach Co., and which must be restored as part of the use permit for the 270-room hotel, 18 hole golf course and 80 condominiums to be built there.

Fifth District Supervisor Karin Strasser Kauffman said that the board action would not kill all prospects for reclamation in the forest, but would eliminate Sawmill Gulch as a treatment plant or reservoir site.

The Supervisors had earlier granted a use permit to the Pebble Beach Community Services District for the reclamation project at Sawmill Gulch, a permit scheduled before the California Coastal commission at its April meeting in Santa Cruz.

The Pebble Beach Community Services District has since removed itself from county permit authority by invoking a provision of state law.

If the Supervisors' action stands, the District would have to go to court to attack the scenic easement imposed by the county if it still wants to use the site, Del Piero said.

Directors of the Pebble beach District "played their card" when the stepped out of county authority, he said. "And the Board (of Supervisors) played the last one."

Second District Supervisor Barbara Shipnuck, who favored use of trucks rather than the conveyor belt to haul Sawmill Gulch sand, said she still opposes the conveyor belt but could support the compromise because it "gives the community itself the (final) choice" by voiding the use permit in the event of a successful lawsuit.

The hearing, which began at 7 p.m. and concluded after 10 p.m., featured rational and impassioned appeals by Del Monte Park residents in opposition to the conveyor belt.

They argued that the Pebble Beach co., use permit for the project had already expired, challenged the permit on several other grounds and cited potential safety and fire hazards inherent in having the fenced-off conveyor belt near their residential neighborhood.

Company representatives and County staff members rebutted the challenges, contending that the permit is valid, that the sand is needed to meet Coastal Commission requirements at Spanish Bay and that the conveyor belt could operate safely.