Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Monterey Bay Shores Eco-Resort Decision May Go to Appeals Court
Monterey spine-flower (Chorizanthe pungens var. pungens), a federally-listed threatened species found in coastal dune habitat in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. Photograph: Rod Yeager
In early July, Judge Harold Kahn of the Superior Court in San Francisco decided in favor of Security National Guaranty (SNG) in its litigation against the California Coastal Commission for denying their proposed mega resort a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) in 2010. The Monterey Bay Shores Eco-Resort has plans for 341-unit mixed use development on thirty nine acres of fragile coastal dunes west of Highway 1. The entire site is sensitive habitat area and supports threatened and endangered species such as the Smith's blue butterfly, Monterey spine-flower (shown here) and nesting western snowy plover. For over twelve years, Ventana Chapter has opposed this project and retained attorney Larry Silver to represent us as intervenors in all litigation related to this case.
The Court held that the Commission had misinterpreted the Sand City Local Coastal Plan (LCP) in a number of respects relating to the Commission's authority to protect the fragile sand dunes on site including a concern for coastal erosion caused by inadequate setback and the negative impacts from development grading. In essence, the Court rewrote ambiguous provisions of the LCP and made its own interpretations.
The Commission is now considering an appeal of Judge Kahn's decision by the end of the year. While the appeal is pending, which can take up to a year at least, SNG cannot proceed to ask the Commission to once again review the project and grant it a CDP. Even if it wins the appeal, SNG will still have to go back to the Commission to apply for a CDP.
The Club will continue to support the Commission in this case. We believe that if constructed this so called "eco-resort" would be one of the largest resorts ever built in the California coastal zone, and would be located directly on top of some of the rarest, most environmental sensitive sand dunes left in the world.