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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Financial Settlement Reached in Lawsuit between Monterey Bay Shores Resort and Lender

February 2015

This month, Ed Ghandour, owner of the 39-acre Sand City parcel proposed for a massive resort/condo and his creditors, New York-based Fourth Third LLC reached agreement in court in Monterey ending the threat of potential foreclosure. This agreement concludes the limited receivership of the property put into action last year and returns control to Ghandour who says he will focus on completing the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) process provisionally granted by the California Coastal Commission last April.

This project has been contested by the Sierra Club since it was first proposed in 1998. The development would put a 1.3 million square foot, 368 unit hotel and condominium complex with underground parking spaces for nearly 1,000 cars into the fragile dune landscape of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The proposed building site is within the highly unstable Monterey dune ecosystem and it harbors three federally listed endangered species, the Pacific coast population of the Western Snowy Plover, the Smith's Blue Butterfly and the Monterey Spineflower. About one third of the site is within federally-designated critical habitat for the Western Snowy Plover.

The plover currently nests in the sand, both on the beach and in the dune areas of the proposed site. A tiny beach bird, it weighs less than 2 ounces. A hotel/condo project with hundreds of guests and year-round residents sited directly within plover critical habitat is a major problem for this rare species. There are only about 2,200 of these birds left in all of coastal California.

Ventana Chapter has retained an ornithologist, coastal ecologist and attorney to continue to fight development at the site.

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