Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Sierra Club opposes Coastal Dunes Resort
Build on These Dunes?
The huge development proposed for these Sand City dunes would impact endangered and sensitive species such as the western snowy plover and the Monterey spineflower.
Photo ©2002-2009 Kenneth & Gabrielle Adelman, California Coastal Records Project, www.Californiacoastline.org
For over 11 years, the Ventana Chapter has opposed projects planned for the sand dunes west of Highway 1 in Sand City. These parcels were used in the past for mining sand and other commercial activities. Since their closure, several plans have been proposed that would heavily impact coastal erosion, federally-listed, endangered and sensitive species such as the nesting western snowy plover, Monterey spineflower, black legless lizard and Myrtle’s Silverspot butterfly.
The most aggressive plan for development has been the Security National Guarantee (SNG) proposal for a mega mixed-use complex called Monterey Bay Shores Resort. The site plan designed by Rana Creek would incorporate 341 units of hotel rooms and condominiums, restaurants, pools, spa, and conference facilities on 39 acres of beachfront property. The project would require removal and disposal of over 400,000 cubic feet of sand and impact our severely-diminishing water supply.
The project had a serious setback in late February when SNG came before the Monterey Peninsula Water Management Board to request approval of an application to exercise water rights. Following an intensive public relations campaign and lobbying efforts by the developer, Ed Ghandour, and Rana Creek, the consultants for the project, the Board denied SNG’s request to access its allotted water. The Water Board ordered Ghandour to prepare a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report to address all water-related concerns.
The last EIR was over 10 years old, having been circulated in 1998. Water Board members specifically cited the fact that significant new information about the over pumping of the Seaside basin in the last eleven years made denial the only possible decision. As a result of the denial of water rights, SNG withdrew the resort proposal from the Coastal Commission agenda for mid-March.
The Chapter has retained professional experts to represent us in opposing the resort. Attorney Larry Silver of CELP (California Environmental Law Project) has prepared detailed responses to the flaws in the project based on water law and CEQA. Botanist and coastal ecologist Peter Baye has reviewed impacts on sensitive species and the infeasibility of the project’s proposed mitigation and management plan.
In addition, the Monterey Dunes Coalition sent a letter to the Coastal Commission regarding technical review of coastal erosion predictions for the proposed resort. Citing the Regional Sediment Management Plan for Southern Monterey Bay that was released in November, 2008, the letter notes that the coastal dunes between the Salinas River and Wharf II in Monterey are predicted to erode between 1 to 6 feet per year over the next 50 years. Such erosion would put the eight existing oceanfront facilities at risk and certainly suggests that the proposed resort site is in a hazard zone.
All the documents cited above were submitted to the Coastal Commission in opposition to the Monterey Bay Shores Resort and are available for viewing on the Chapter website, www.ventana.sierraclub.org.