Public Input Abridged – LUAC Wants “Out”

Concerned citizens protesting County mandated inclusionary apartments proposed for the Del Monte Forest overflowed the Thursday DMF Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) meeting.LUAC 1

If built, this project would represent the first and only high-density rental apartments within the Del Monte Forest, a tranquil community of single-family homes on lots zoned for minimum lot sizes of one quarter acre. The project would represent a radical departure from historic land use patterns in the Del Monte Forest, perhaps even signaling a sea-change in the Pebble Beach brand.

Despite the high level of public concern, evidenced by crowds of residents left outside, straining to hear the proceedings, the LUAC did not appear to welcome public input.

Chair, Rod Dewar, began by discussing how to limit participation, including restricting each speaker to two minutes as well as limiting the total number of speakers, prohibiting speakers from asking questions of PB Co. representatives, and proposing to close public comment after less than one and a half hours.

Committee member Rick Verbanec remarked with impatience that two hours would be “more than enough time to beat it to death.”

When asked why the LUAC did not reject the proposal based upon overwhelming public opposition, Chair Dewar retorted, “We do not count votes; it’s not a popularity contest.”LUAC 2

Then County Planner, Joe Sidor, told the eager-to-speak public what would and would not be appropriate to bring up. Further underlining the lack of interest in public input, Sidor added that as a public meeting not a public hearing, notice requirements were confined to a posting at the meeting site 72 hours in advance. He referred to notices mailed to a handful of surrounding neighbors as merely a “courtesy.”

Unable to gain access to the building, many members of the public left without having the opportunity to speak.

A motion to reject the proposed project was put forth by Joella Szabo but failed to receive a second. Sandy Getreau entered a motion to approve, which was seconded by June Stock. However, that motion failed to receive any votes either.

At that point, a dismayed Dewar huddled with County planner Joe Sidor who indicated that they could send a report which neither approved nor rejected the project but made “recommendations.” This was was the action ultimately taken the the LUAC. “That gives us an ‘out’,” concluded Dewar.

6 thoughts on “Public Input Abridged – LUAC Wants “Out”

  1. A very cowardly decision by some very cowardly people. The only exception was Joella Szabo, who appears to actually have a heart and a soul. We need to start writing letters to our County Planning Commission and our County Supervisors, and respectfully ask them to represent our concerns. There is no reason this project cannot be built somewhere where over 700 more trees will not have to be destroyed. Enough is enough!

    • Right on, I completely agree. PB Co needs to listen to neighbor objections just like we do when we want to build anything on our property. Also, laws protecting the Monterey Pine and Coastal Oak must apply to everyone.

  2. We need to organize an email campaign that will target the supervisors, the county planners, and the planning commission to express our disapproval of the area D plan.
    Also, LUAC should be sensitive to a “popularity” contest if they purport to represent the PB and affected PG community interest in land usage. They all should be reminded of a preamble that states, “We the people….” we are the “we the people” referred to therein. There is no tyranny of the majority or minority in this case. It is the legitimate concerns of the affected populace of PB and PG.

    • I agree that we need to organize something directed at the Planning Commission. It was my impression that the LUAC was really not set up for a public forum like the one we tried to have in there on Thursday. They’re used to much smaller crowds and quiet deliberations. And they’re not required (as the Planning Department is) to accommodate/consider our concerns. They can’t answer questions about projects, and they can’t count votes of those in attendance. They have to simply consider the data with which they’ve been presented and make their recommendation. (That said, they could have probably predicted, given our attendance on 9/5, that we’d come out in force for the 10/3 meeting . . . maybe they could have been more prepared.) In any case, we’ll bring out the good stuff for the Planning Department where it’ll really count!

    • I agree with Tom. An email campaign targeting County planning staff, planning commission and the Board of Supervisors is really important as these are the entities who pushed for the project in the first place. We need to let them know loud and clear how many of us there are, how fast we are growing, and that WE VOTE!

  3. I think the really important part of the meeting when the advisory group was told that the project didn’t have to be located in Pebble Beach but that it was the preference of the board of supervisors. They were told that it was required to be in the Greater Monterey Peninsula area. The committee was clueless on this information which led them to recommend it should not be built in Pebble Beach. Thus, why is Moe Amar welcoming Pebble Beach to Pacific Grove planning staff?!

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