Public Misled – In Depth

Our Research

We have examined public documents, including the 320 page Board of Supervisor’s resolution for the historic meeting when the Pebble Beach Company development plan was finally approved on June 19, 2012. Our information is derived from this and other official public documents, which are linked on this site, and from discussions with County planning staff. We invite you to explore our research on our Research and Data page and our Links page.  Our findings are outlined in the articles that follow.

Del Monte Forest “Final” Build-out Plan – Which One?

First we need to address the question: Does the “final” Del Monte Forest build-out plan cover all the remaining undeveloped Pebble Beach Company property in the Del Monte Forest?

The answer is “That depends.” It depends on which plan you look at, who you talk to (and when you talk to them.) There more than one plan? Yes there appear to be!. Though when discussing the “project,” County planning staff and members of the Board of Supervisors often refer to them interchangeably. The apparent subtle co-existence of two plans appears to be the main source of confusion about what is really going on with Pebble Beach development.

The first plan, which we will refer to as the Coastal Commission Plan, is the result of an agreement in May of 2012 between the Pebble Beach Company and the Coastal Commission, settling years of controversy. Though the CCC press release says the “historic compromise ends decades of conflict about how to develop the remaining Pebble Beach Company lands in the Del Monte Forest,” the plan, in fact, only addresses property located within the strangely circuitous boundary of the Coastal Zone.

After approval of its plan, the Coastal Commission bowed out and the County took over shepherding the project through implementation. Thus arose what we will refer to as the “County Plan” (PLN# 100138) It was approved by a resolution of the County Board of Supervisors on June 19, 2012. To view the resolution on the Board of Supervisor’s web site, click here and go to Attachment C

Area D – Now You See It. Now You Don’t

A key difference between the two plans is Area D, a section of native Monterey pine forest that lies within the Del Monte Forest but outside the circuitous boundary of the Coastal Zone. To view map of Coastal Zone, click here. Thus it was left out of the Coastal Commission Plan. It’s status in the County Plan (and evidently in the minds of County planners) is strangely ambiguous and shifting.

According to the executive summary, the County Plan allows for the “phased development and preservation of the remaining undeveloped Pebble Beach Company properties located within the Del Monte Forest,” and it outlines specific development plans. This summary appears to be the source of most of the descriptions of development plans published in the media. As for residential development, it only mentions the 90 to 100 new lots approved by the Coastal Commission. It omits mention of residential development in Area D. To view the executive summary, click here.

The County Plan also includes a summary Project Site Map M (Cover Sheet) which delineates the various areas for which development is planned. This map omits Area D. Similar maps omitting Area D were used in informational presentations about Pebble Beach development plans. To view the Plan summary map, click here.

From the executive Summary and cover sheet map, one might easily get the mistaken impression that future residential development in the Del Monte Forest is limited to 90 to 100 single-family homes. (In fact, judging from news coverage, the media appears to have made this mistake and conveyed the misperception to their readers. To view examples of typical media coverage, click here.)

However, buried on pages 279 and 280 of the 323-page Board of Supervisor’s resolution that details and approves the County Plan, are vesting tentative maps subdividing the “Huckleberry Hill and Corporation Yard” area into various parcels. Two of those parcels are F (9.19 acres) and G (3.95 acres) along both sides of Congress Rd. Though these parcels lie in Area D, it is still not specifically identified. According very fine print on these maps, both parcels are zoned for medium density residential development, 4 units to the acre. At four units to the acre, the roughly 13 acres could later be subdivided into as many as 50 additional residential lots. To view the maps, click here.

The County Planning “Explanation”

When asked whether the County Plan includes all the “remaining undeveloped Pebble Beach Company properties located within the Del Monte Forest” (a quote from the project description), County planner, Joe Sidor said, “Yes and no.”

Ninety-five percent of the property, he explained, was identified in the Plan for either preservation or development. He cited Area D as the only property he could think of which was not designated. The reason, he said, is because it lies outside the Coastal Zone. And since the County Plan grew out of the Coastal Commission Plan, it too “focuses on the Coastal Zone.” He dismissed as “just an oversight” the fact the project description failed to mention any limitation in scope to the Coastal Zone.

However, when asked whether Area D could at some point be subdivided into residential units in addition the often quoted 90 to 100 lots, his answer was an unequivocal. “Absolutely!”

The reason? Because residential Parcels F and G are included on the vesting tentative maps of the very County Plan that he previously said did not  identify Area D for development. He also indicated that the inclusionary housing project proposed for Parcel F in Area D was considered “on-site” for the entire Pebble Beach Company development project because of its inclusion on those same maps. In this context, he further noted that Parcels F and G were identified (briefly) in Finding 2 the and therefore included in the County Plan. Though parcels F and G were referred to in passing, Area D was not mentioned here either. To view Finding 2, click here.

So Area D appears to be simultaneously included and not included in the County Plan. If you are having difficulty getting your head around this, it only means you have yet to master the dubious art of “doublethink.”