OF SAWMILL BORROW SITES
AND PROPOSED RELOCATION OF EQUESTRIAN CENTER
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LOWER AND UPPER SAWMILL BORROW SITES
AND THE PROPOSED RELOCATION
OF THE EQUESTRIAN CENTER TO THESE SITES
There currently exists a "Conservation and Scenic Easement" on the "Lower Sawmill Borrow Site" and a "Conservation Easement" on the "Upper Sawmill Borrow Site". These two easements were imposed upon the Pebble Beach Company by the County of Monterey in 1986 and the California Coastal Commission in 1987, as conditions for the approval of the Spanish Bay Resort project.
The Upper and Lower Sawmill Borrow Sites are located south of S. F. B. Morse Drive near Congress Road. These two sites total approximately 40 acres.
As part of the Spanish Bay Resort project permitting (CDP PC-5202), a Conservation and Scenic Easement Deed was granted March 10, 1986 for the Sawmill Borrow Site (Lower Sawmill Gulch quarry site) that had been mined for sand during the Spanish Bay project construction. This Deed restricted any development and uses in the area to project activities, restoration and revegetation, construction, maintenance, repair and use of public services (new road, utility lines/pipes, existing fire roads, pedestrian and equestrian trails) and "...use for open space, recreational and scientific study uses."
On October 23, 2000, the Coastal Commission Staff stated that the facilities required to accommodate an entire equestrian center would be substantially more intense that the limited development contemplated by this easement.
A second Scenic and Conservation Easement was required under the Spanish Bay Coastal Development Permit (CDP 3-84-226), for the protection of natural and scenic resources within the Huckleberry Hill Natural Habitat Area, including the upper Sawmill Gulch quarry site (Area 6). A separate condition of that permit also required "...reclamation plans for the upper and lower Sawmill Gulch quarry sites... these locations shall be reclaimed as natural wildlife habitat suitable for addition to the adjacent Huckleberry Hill Natural Habitat Area unless a separate Combined Development Permit allows an alternative use." The Conservation Easement Offer To Deed was recorded October 12, 1987 and added areas within the Sawmill Gulch quarry site to the Huckleberry Hill Open Space area. Development and uses within the easement area are restricted to those that comply with the Local Coastal Plan and are consistent with the primary purpose and intent of preserving and maintaining the natural plant and wildlife habitats found within the Huckleberry Hill Natural Habitat Area.
The Coastal Commission Staff on October 23, 2000, expressed their concerned that increased equestrian use in and adjacent to SFB Morse Preserve and Huckleberry Hill Natural Habitat Area could be expected if the equestrian center is relocated nearer to these preserve areas, raising questions of consistency with this 1987 easement.
In 1986 the Upper and Lower Sawmill Borrow Sites were rezone to Open Space - Forest (Title 20.36 Resource Conservation District (RC)).
The purpose of the Resource Conservation (RC) zoning district is to protect, preserve, enhance, and restore sensitive resource areas in Monterey County. Principal permitted uses in a RC zoning district are (a) resource dependent educational and scientific research facilities uses, and low-intensity day use recreation uses such as trails, picnic areas and boardwalks; and (b) restoration and management programs for fish, wildlife, or other physical resources. Currently, Open Space Forest land uses specified in the Del Monte Forest Land Use area are aimed at protecting such resources as the SFB Morse Botanical Reserve, riparian corridors, rare plants and specimen trees, and geological hazard areas. Potential development allowed in Open Space Forest areas include trails, low-intensity recreational facilities, tree cutting, and public works only if consistent with all other plan policies.
(Amendments to Del Monte Forest land Use Plan)
The New Land Uses subsection of the Gowen Cypress (Area 6) section of Chapter 3 (Land Use and Development Element) is amended to read as follows:
Existing mined out areas not used for residential development can be used for public works purposes and an equestrian center.
The zoning for the Sawmill Borrow Site is changed from Open Space-Forest (RC Resource Constraint) to Open Space Recreation (OR).
Measure A and the Relocation of the Equestrian Center to the
Upper and Lower Sawmill Borrow Sites
October 23, 2000
". . . . the Initiative's proposed changes conflict with provisions of previous coastal permits issued to the Company that required two scenic and conservation easements over the upper and lower Sawmill Gulch quarry sites. . . . . .amendments to easements and underlying Coastal Commission permits would be needed to pursue relocation of the proposed full-scale equestrian center to the Sawmill Gulch site. Additionally, any such amendment request would need to demonstrate that it would not substantively weaken the effect of the Commission's previous actions, including provision of similar forest open space benefits elsewhere"
"In addition, our limited analysis to date has identified other coastal planning issues raised by the Initiative, including: proposed relocation of the equestrian center to Sawmill Gulch in light of previous permit conditions that require conservation easements and reclamation/restoration of the site; the impacts that increased equestrian use may bring to sensitive habitat areas in and adjacent to the Sawmill Gulch site; and the potential impacts from the proposed increase in visitor-serving uses at various sites".
"On a related note, the Spanish Bay permit (3-84-226) Special Condition 28 also required a mitigation program that included, among other things, rehabilitation of the Upper Sawmill Gulch quarry site, its incorporation into the Huckleberry Hill Natural Habitat Area, and abandonment and reforestation of the existing Haul Road slopes and roadbed. The Pebble Beach Company is not yet in full compliance with this condition".
"The proposed changes from Open Space Forest (RC) to Open Space Recreation (OR) are questionable in that they could allow for an increased level of recreational use and structural development in areas previously considered suitable only for low-intensity uses and facilities. Such activities could have significant impacts on sensitive habitats in and adjacent to these areas".