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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Politics and Issues

Measure G would give home rule to Carmel Valley

October 2009
Lobby Day
An artist’s depiction of what the Rancho Cañada subdivision would look like, if approved. The project includes placing 220,000 cubic yards of fill in the flood plain of the Carmel River.

Measure G would create the Town of Carmel Valley and give local citizens control over land use and development. The Sierra Club believes local control would provide far greater stewardship of this narrow river valley than the County now exercises. The Club has endorsed Measure G.

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors has not been a responsible steward for Carmel Valley. A small and delicate ecosystem, the Carmel River valley has been overrun with development approvals in recent years despite being under a state court order for 14 years to curtail water use. In the last few years the County has approved 1,183 new housing units in Carmel Valley—an increase of about 20% in Carmel Valley’s current housing stock. These units have not yet been built, so their impact is not apparent to most residents.

Additionally, Monterey County is currently processing applications for another 1,052 housing units including, most ominously, the Rancho Cañada subdivision. If approved, these proposed housing units would increase the total housing stock in Carmel Valley by still another 20%.

Rancho Cañada consists of about 300 housing units. The project includes placing 220,000 cubic yards of fill in the flood plain of the Carmel River. The developers would do this in order to raise the subdivision above the 100-year flood plain. Thus, in a 100-year flood, 220,000 cubic yards of water would be newly displaced with unknown but likely unpleasant consequences. The last 100-year flood occurred 95 years ago.

The Rancho Cañada subdivision would also detrimentally affect the award-winning Hilton Bialek Biological Sciences Habitat at Carmel Middle School. Wildlife corridors that connect the habitat with the Carmel River would be paved over and densely packed with housing units, effectively destroying the corridors. The thicket in which bird banding now occurs would be replaced by a two-story condo complex.

Carmel Valley has neither the water nor the road infrastructure to accommodate all this new development. The combined 40% increase in housing stock together with other development projects would generate about 28,000 new daily car trips in Carmel Valley, or greater than a 50% increase in traffic.

If you live in Carmel Valley, we urge you to vote Yes on G. If you live elsewhere, we urge you to help the campaign. For more information, please visit