Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Local activism pays off for keeping Carmel Valley rural
by Christine Williams, President, Carmel Valley Association
Hard work and perseverance on the part of local activists, including the Carmel Valley Association and the Ventana Chapter members of the Sierra Club, have resulted in returning language to the Draft General Plan Update (GPU4) which would help preserve the rural character of Carmel Valley.
References to the importance of equestrian, bike, and pedestrian trails were put back into the Plan, as well as language pertaining to the upcoming private road ordinance. Additionally, three critical statements are now included:
• All policies, ordinances, and decisions regarding Carmel Valley shall be consistent with the goal of preserving Carmel Valley’s rural character.
• In order to preserve the rural character of Carmel Valley, development shall follow a rural architectural theme with design review.
• Updates to the Master Plan shall include a public forum with the local citizen advisory committee to provide recommendations.
Although much has been accomplished, much remains to be done. Of grave concern is the change in traffic mitigation triggers for Carmel Valley Road, which allows for much higher numbers of vehicles than at other places before developers are required to mitigate. The County has admitted that the assessment method had to be changed to allow development. There is a question as to the legality of these changes.
A 266-unit cap was placed on all new development in Carmel Valley. Rancho Cañada Village is preserved as a special treatment area, making it unnecessary to rezone their 10 lots for their 281 unit development. The subdivision moratorium will disappear upon approval of this plan.
Without further changes to the Plan, Carmel Valley would still be open to inappropriate development in spite of continuing traffic and water constraints.
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors plans to certify the new General Plan in October. The entire proposed General Plan (including the Carmel Valley Master Plan) can be found at www.co.monterey.ca.us/planning. Scroll down and click on "Review Drafts of the General Plan."