The Coastal Commission will meet on June 13 in Santa Rosa to determine the fate of 18,000 trees slated to be cut down to make way for massive development at Pebble Beach. The Commission will decide whether or not to certify ballot Measure A approved in 2000. The Chapter is opposed to certification as parts of it are in violation of the Coastal Act for protection of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA) and coastal wetlands. The PBC plan would be enormously destructive to the sensitive forest, dunes and coastline. Nestled in the largest existing remnant of rare native Monterey pine forest, this subdivision of luxury homes and commercial real estate is already encroaching on resident sensitive species.
The proposed development requires cutting down 18,000 trees to build a new 18-hole golf course, a total of 160 new suites, 33 residential lots, a golf driving range, 60 employee housing units, construction of new roads and trails, and the relocation of the equestrian facilities which alone will require cutting down over 1,000 Gowen Cypress, Coast Live Oak, and Bishop Pine trees. This project would be built in ESHA, an area with delineated wetlands and 19 species of special concern including 2 federally-listed endangered species. It also seeks to vacate the existing conservation easements which were conditions of previous project approvals. Vacating of existing easements should be especially troubling to the Coastal Commission, whose decisions must hold over time or they risk being completely undermined.
The Measure A 2000 was drafted by Pebble Beach lawyers to circumvent the Coastal Act which does not allow development in ESHA and coastal wetlands. TV ads at the time included Mr. Eastwood saying that this measure would "Save the Forest." There was a firestorm of criticism when the plan was revealed and was so destructive to our natural coastal resources. The voters were duped and knew it.
In March 2005, the Pebble Beach Company tried to bypass the Coastal Commission and asked the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to approve the project, which they did. This action wasn't legal, so the Board then had to vacate their approval in December, 2006.
The Chapter has hired the firm Tom N. Lippe of San Francisco to address our concerns at the hearing. There will be a meeting to inform local members of the details of the hearing. If you can attend, please contact Mark Massara for more details:
Hearing date and location:
June 13, Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa, 170 Railroad Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, (707) 284-1234.