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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Chapter Chair's Column
Chapter fighting development on Monterey Bay dunes
April 2009

Your Chapter is highly focused on coastal issues this year. Several pro-jects that have been planned for the Monterey Bay shoreline for a decade or more may come before the California Coastal Commission or other regulatory boards this year.

The first one the chapter faced this year was the massive redo of Security National Guaranty’s (SNG) perpetual effort to build a mega complex in the coastal dunes at Sand City. (See story, p. 3). This project consisting of 341 units, pools, spas, restaurants and conference facilities was heard before the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District for approval of a water distribution permit last month. The Water District denied the application and directed SNG to do a Subsequent EIR as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

SNG and their paid consultants, Rana Creek, are currently working hard to get around this decision and begin building their project. The Chapter has opposed development on this 39-acre site for many years because of federally-listed and sensitive species on site, coastal erosion concerns that could require seawalls to protect the structures, and the dwindling water supply in the Seaside Aquifer.

What was not discussed at the hearing before the Water Management District was another project in the pipeline near the SNG property proposed by King Ventures. This developer is now in the process of preparing an EIR due to be released this spring for still another sprawling resort in the coastal dunes in Sand City. The proposed resort would also impact sensitive dune species, be subject to coastal erosion, and draw on the same dwindling water supply in the seaside Aquifer.

In addition, the long-time presence of a sand mining plant just a little further north in Marina is removing hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand that is shipped out of the county for industrial uses.

The Chapter has retained legal counsel and scientists to address all of these projects, both as separate entities and for their cumulative impacts. To lose any of these scarce beaches to development would have disastrous effects on sensitive species such as the federally-endangered nesting western snowy plover, disrupt natural coastal rhythms, and siphon off water supplies that exist only on paper.

Protecting the Monterey Bay shoreline and its unique habitat and resources takes activists and money. If you have interest in helping the Chapter with coastal issues or making a donation towards legal and/or scientific expert fees, please contact me at .

—Rita Dalessio

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