Water Rationing & the Pebble Beach Lots

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Two years from now, will you have enough water to take a shower, wash your clothes or flush your toilet? Maybe not if you live on the Monterey Peninsula.Parched Earth

The State Water Resources Control Board has ordered a 70 percent cut in pumping from the Carmel River, the source of most of our water. We have been given an ultimatum. Find a new water source or face deep rationing after 2016. Make no mistake. This will impose genuine hardship. Residents may be required to get by on a mere 35 percent of current use.(1) This will be particularly grim since per capita water use on the Monterey Peninsula is already the lowest in the state.

In the face of the looming water crisis, Pebble Beach Company has embarked upon a $200 million development project in the Del Monte Forest. The project includes a new 100 room hotel and spa at Spyglass Hill, another 100 new rooms at the Spanish Bay Inn and the Pebble Beach Lodge, a new conference center, 90 new residential lots, a new driving range, an equestrian center re-do, and a 24 unit low-income apartment complex. Continue reading

Conflicts with Neighborhood Character

The general character of the surrounding area in the DMF is defined by the consistent implementation of visionary, environmentally sensitive land-use policies for nearly a century. This project is thoroughly incompatible. Claims by proponents that only passing motorists will be affected or that acknowledged aesthetic degradation will be covered up by “native plantings” are spurious, particularly given the poor results of prior mitigation. Long-standing design and land use standards, which apply to every other development in the DMF, should not be so frivolously disregarded.

Surrounding land use and general character of the area

Single family homes on Ortega Rd. near project entrance

Single family homes on Ortega Rd. near project entrance

This DMF neighborhood is semi-rural consisting entirely of single-family homes on large lots (one quarter acre or more) dispersed throughout a forest. Most homes are owner-occupied. Roads are narrow and winding without sidewalks or streetlights, and the night time sky is dark. By deed restriction all properties since the 1920’s have been developed under strict design standards, a primary purpose of which is to ensure compatibility with neighboring properties and the community in general. Carports are prohibited and exterior lighting is discouraged as are structures which are in strong contrast or out of scale with neighboring residences. These standards are codified in the Architectural Standards and Residential Guidelines for the Del Monte Forest*

Project Incompatibility

Artists rendering of apartment building

Artist’s rendering of one of the four apartment buildings

The Project, on the other hand, is completely incompatible with existing land use and the general character of the area. It will introduce high-density, attached multifamily dwellings exclusively for rental use into an area where all homes are single family and most are owner-occupied. With a footprint of approximately 65,0000 square feet, it will occupy the space of eight quarter acre lots and is completely out of scale with the existing neighborhood. Due to mandatory minimum occupancy requirements, the project will likely generate a higher level of human activity and commotion relative to the tranquil environment of the surrounding area. It will also introduce light pollution to the dark nighttime sky, unacceptable levels of traffic, and prohibited carports.

* Architectural Standards and Residential Guidelines for the Del Monte Forest, Pebble Beach Company Real Estate Division.

Alternative: The Old Capitol Site

At the September 2013 meeting of the Del Monte Forest LUAC, Mark Stillwell of Pebble Beach Company stated that the company had once considered the Old Capitol site as an alternate location for the inclusionary housing currently proposed for Area D in the DMF.

Unlike Area D, one of the three parcels that comprise the Old Capitol site: (APN # 001-761-051-000, 10 acres). is only sparsely forested, thus hundreds of native trees could be saved by moving the project there.

Old Capitol Site (APN # 001-761-051-000 outlined in purple)

The parcel, is located across the street from Del Monte Center in Monterey, offers many other advantages. It is owned by PBC, zoned residential, already subdivided into a parcel of similar size to the Area D parcel, located along MST transit lines, near a gas station, bank, pharmacy, grocery store and other services as well as a freeway on-ramp. It is also only a few miles away from work for Pebble Beach employes.

Further, since there is currently no other residential development in the immediate vicinity, it would alleviate numerous problems associated with Area D, including disruption of existing neighborhood land use patterns, traffic, parking, noise, and light pollution.

MYTH: All Pebble Beach Co. properties sparkle. . .

. . . so neighbors shouldn’t be concerned about the aesthetics of the rental apartments PBC is being pressured to build here.

REALITY:  Only the high-end income producing assets are  impeccably maintained. Less visible properties are strictly utilitarian as can be seen in the photos below.

We do not imply that the Company should spend more money on overhead. Merely that the maintenance of subsidized apartments may not be a priority for astute executives striving to allocate resources in the best interests of the enterprise.

PB Co Corporate OfficesPebble Beach Company Legal & Community Affairs office on Sunridge RoadLunch area behind Corporate offices on Sunridge RoadEmploye lunch area behind Pebble Beach Corporate offices on Sunridge RoadParking lot at Pebble Beach Comapny Corporate offices and yardParking lot at Pebble Beach Comapny Corporate offices and yard on Sunridge RoadPebble Beach Company Corporation Yard on Sunridge RoadPebble Beach Company Corporation Yard on Sunridge Road

Sensitive VS Degraded Habitat – A legal fiction

Proponents claim the forested tract on SFB Morse Drive is an environmentally sound choice because it is outside the “sensitive Coastal Zone.” However, this is more of a legal fiction than a substantive environmental difference. In fact, the site lies just outside Coastal Zone boundary. It is directly across the street from the sensitive Huckleberry Hill preservation area, with which it shares the same forested nature and for which it provides an important buffer. (See map below:)

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Simply because of being on the wrong side an arbitrary boundary, the site’s native Monterey Pine and Coast Live Oak forest is not afforded the superior environmental protections of the Del Monte Forest Land Use Plan (LUP), which states:
“the native Monterey pine forest …is one of only five such native pine forest occurrences in the world. It is also the most extensive of these worldwide.” (p. 10) Continue reading

Pedestrian Safety Hazard in PB

The community of Pebble Beach was designed as a semi-rural area to preserve the natural beauty and forest environment. There are no sidewalks or street lights, and the streets are quite narrow and often winding. There are many blind curves.

Ortega Rd. between Congress & Forest Lodge

Ortega Rd. between Congress & Forest Lodge

In short, it can be a dangerous place to walk, and many walkers are elderly. (In fact according the the last census 54% of households in the Del Monte Forest have members 65 years or older.) Exacerbating this hazard is the fact that many people going to and from work at the hotels, golf courses, etc. use narrow residential streets as “short-cuts”.

Ortega Rd. near Forest Lodge

Ortega Rd. near Forest Lodge

Continue reading