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Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Sierra Club Appeal of Sand City Collections Resort/Condo Project Hearing at the California Coastal Commission in Monterey

December 2014
Snowy Plover Sand City Sand City beachfront site of proposed Collections resort/condo project showing undeveloped dune habitat. (Photograph: California Coastal Records Project).

The Sierra Club appeal of the Sand City City Council's approval of the Collections resort/condo project will have a hearing on Friday, December 12 at the California Coastal Commission (CCC) meeting in Monterey at the Portola Plaza Hotel. The Commissioners will determine if the City's action raises a substantial issue regarding the City-approved project's compliance with the policies and standards of the LCP and the Coastal Act. The staff report is recommending that the Commission take jurisdiction over the CDP application in this case.

Ventana Chapter's attorney, Larry Silver filed an appeal last December with the CCC over approval by the City of the Collections project planned for 26 acres in the highly erodible dunes west of Highway 1 between Tioga Avenue and the north end of the Edgewater Shopping Center. Currently, about 8 acres are used for construction materials handling and storage and owned by the Applicant, King Ventures. The remaining 18 acres is undeveloped dune habitat and is owned by the City of Sand City as 2 lots, the McDonald site (16.25 acres) and Granite site (2.31 acres).

As proposed, the 340 unit resort is to be constructed in two phases: the first phase will include 105 time share units and the second phase will include a 235-unit hotel with a restaurant, conference center and wellness spa. There will be over 600 parking spaces in an underground garage. Construction will include a deep caisson foundation and would result in some 572,127 square feet of facilities covering some 11.5 acres of the site, and causing permanent loss to over 60% of the undeveloped dune portion of the site (and essentially all dune areas inland of the 15-foot elevation).

Our appeal says that the project as approved is inconsistent with the City's certified Local Coastal Plan (LCP) policies including those related to hazard avoidance, protection of public views and natural resources, public access and adequacy of public services (traffic). The FEIR is inadequate and does not address protection of Monterey spineflower, Seacliff buckwheat or Western snowy plover at the site. The project does not avoid and minimize significant impacts to important public blue-water views of the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Peninsula and the FEIR does not adequately address traffic access and shoreline erosion hazards at the site. (Our December 5, 2014 letter signed by Sierra Club and CBD to the CCC here)

Coastal Commissioners Steven Kinsey and Mary Shallenberger have also filed an appeal of the Collection project to the CCC citing its inconsistency with provisions in the Sand City certified LCP with respect to "hazards, natural visual resources, development and public access, and is also inconsistent with the public access and recreation policies of the Coastal Act."

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