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Carmel Valley Needs a Full EIR

Posted 10-10-2005



by Lawrence Samuels


In the late 1980s, there was a movement to incorporate Pebble Beach. When the proposal came before the local LAFCO agency, the commissioners voted to require a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR). However, the proponents of Carmel Valley incorporation want to get that waived by trying to get the LAFCO commissioners to make a “Negative Declaration.”

To the opponents of incorporation, this seems perplexing. Carmel Valley is environmentally sensitive, with a river and valley – far more than Pebble Beach. Even Flanders Mansion in Carmel-by-the-Sea, with a little more than one acre, was required to do a complete EIR, which cost $100,000. The boilerplate, barebones initial EIR that was done for a 44- square mile possible Carmel Valley City cost around $6 to $8 thousand.

UPDATE: In 2006, LAFCO commissioners voted for a full EIR, but the proponents sued. The proponents won the lawsuit, arguing that LAFCO should not have required a full environmental impact report. Bascially, this lawsuit was saying that the LAFCO commissioners did not have the authority to make this type of decision. Of course, they do. But the LAFCO commissioners decided not appeal the case since the proponent's attorney, Michael Stamp, had charged LAFCO almost $500,000 for legal fees. The proponents offered to lower those fees, if LAFCO commissioners did not appeal the case to a higher court. Some have called this ploy blackmail. Whatever, LAFCO decided not to appeal to avoid in order to save money. Unless someone else sues, there will be no EIR, unless voters approve the city in an election. In this case, then the state of California mandates a full EIR report, paid at taxpayers expense.






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