Article About CEQA Review of Hotel Projects in Monterey

Coastal commission to review Monterey Bay hotel projects

By , Monterey County Herald

Posted: 12/08/14, 3:09 PM PST | Updated: on 12/08/2014

. . .  the most contentious at this point will be the plans for a 340-room resort in the beach dunes of Sand City proposed by King Ventures of San Luis Obispo. The Sierra Club and two members of the coastal commission have both appealed a Sand City Council decision approving the 26-acre project.

The appeals contend the project is at odds with Sand City’s local coastal plan policies dealing with hazards, public views, natural resources, public access and traffic. Moreover, the appeals challenge the project’s environmental impact report on protection of the Western snowy plover, seacliff buckwheat and other endangered species.

A neighboring proposed Sand City eco-resort project received coastal commission approval this year after two decades of effort by developer Ed Ghandour. That project is now tied up in foreclosure litigation scheduled to be heard in Monterey County Superior Court next week.

Like Ghandour’s Monterey Bay Shores resort, the King Ventures project, dubbed “The Collections,” has gone through numerous iterations and attempts to gain the commission’s approval that span decades.

The commission first denied a permit for a 229-unit Sand City-approved project on the site in 1986. In 1989, the city approved a 136-unit project, but a lawsuit challenged its compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Next, the city approved a similar project in 1990. The coastal commission approved the project with special conditions in 1991, but a Monterey County court found problems with environmental documents. The city updated the environmental documents in 1993 and re-approved the project. The commission approved it with special conditions in 1994, but asked that an alternative water source be found instead of a city-run desalination plant. After years of setbacks, the commission declined to extend the project in 1999, saying circumstances had changed.

Sand City approved the latest version in December of last year.