to deny subdivision near Elkhorn Slough successful
denied on these 25 acres near Elkhorn Slough. Photo: Margie
In December the Coastal
Commission voted 5-5, effectively denying a 10-lot subdivision,
Sunridge Views, proposed for 25-acres on Maher Road near Elkhorn
Slough. Following unanimous approval of this project by the Monterey
County Board of Supervisors, Friends, Artists and Neighbors of Elkhorn
Slough (FANS), LandWatch Monterey County, and Coastal Commissioners
Mike Reilly of Sonoma County and Sara Wan of Malibu appealed the
project to the Coastal Commission.
The developer, Steve
Bradshaw, had prepared an EIR for the project which stated that
the conversion of farmland to houses could result in a net reduction
of water use of up to 24-acre feet per year. The Coastal Commission
staff didn't buy this argument. They recommended that without a
regional solution for the Monterey water crises, and without assurances
that future residents could safely drink the water, the project
should be denied.
Attorney Bill Yeates
represented FANS at the hearing. Yeates told the Commission that
the Supervisors had abandoned the "newest draft" of the
Monterey County General Plan, which was supposed to address the
severe water crises. He stressed the ecological value of the unique
coastal resources in the area at Elkhorn Slough, now a National
Estuarine Research Reserve. He showed a map of how the proposed
lots drain directly into the Slough. He also described the severe
overdrafting of water in North Monterey County.
It was also disclosed
at the Commission meeting that the developer's hired lobbyist had
met with nearly every commissioner, some more than once.
When the Commissioners
discussed the project, Commissioner Sara Wan showed that the water
saving analysis didn't include any irrigation for any landscaping
or water use for second units. Commissioner (and Monterey Counter
Supervisor) Dave Potter said that he supported the project in part
because it had undergone a "full blown EIR."
for the development were Potter, Secord, Peters, Neely & Iseman.
Commissioners voting against the project were Wan, Reilly, Shallenberger,
Kruer & Burke.
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