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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Chapter hires law firm to handle Pebble Beach appeal

The Ventana Chapter has hired the San Francisco law firm of Tom N. Lippe to handle its appeal to the Coastal Commission of the environmentally-destructive Pebble Beach development. Besides the Ventana Chapter, 21 additional organizations and individuals, including two Coastal Commissioners, have filed appeals over Monterey County's approval of the Pebble Beach Company's massive proposed development plan.

This harmful project would destroy over 17,000 trees, threaten habitat for 19 species of special concern, and result in increased water usage in an area already suffering from a severe water shortage and over drafting of the Carmel River.

Our 11-page appeal focuses on violations in the Monterey Local Coastal Plan. We believe that that existing Local Coastal Plan, instead of Measure A, must be used to govern the environmental requirements of the project, as Measure A has not been certified by the Coastal Commission.

The Pebble Beach Company plan is a sprawling, harmful project in an area of unique and sensitive forest, dunes and coastline. Nestled in the largest existing remnant of rare Monterey pine forest, this subdivision of luxury houses and commercial real estate is already encroaching on plant and animal species of concern.

When the Spanish Bay housing development and golf course was approved by the Coastal Commission 21 years ago, the community was promised that it would be the "last golf course" in Pebble Beach. At that time, several critical conservation easements were attached to parcels to protect them from development. Promises were made to restore coastal dunes, to replant the Sawmill Borrow site with Monterey pines, and to institute an invasive plant removal system. These pledges were later described by the Pebble Beach Company as "unworkable" and fell apart while lavish sums were spent instead on the construction of ornate buildings and the design and maintenance of a world-class golf course.

The Club's appeal covers these concerns and challenges several other aspects of this project. We are concerned about the massive amounts of proposed grading, the devastation of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas by the removal of 17,000 trees and 36,000 individual federally-listed Yadon piperia plants, and the encroachment and displacement of existing trail routes.

Some of the other groups that have filed appeals are California Coastkeeper Alliance; California Native Plant Society, Monterey Bay Chapter; Concerned Residents of Pebble Beach; Friends of the Sea Otter; League of Women Voters of the Monterey Peninsula; Helping Our Peninsula's Environment (HOPE) and The Ocean Conservancy.

To view our entire appeal, please click here.


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