Preserve Carmel Highlands

Preserve Carmel Highlands is a group of homeowners in the Carmel Highlands area which includes the Mal Paso, Yankee Point, Sonoma Lane, Van Ess, Lower and Upper Walden, Peter Pan, Highlands Inn, Point Lobos and other area between Mal Paso and Rio Road.

Demographics: Zip Code 93923, (Which includes Carmel Highlands)

Carmel Highlands has:

219 lots west of Highway 1

343 east of Highway 1.

Total lots = 562.

Carmel_Area_LUP_VSU Chart

Citation against 101 Lower Walden

Carmel Area Coastal Implementation Plan-min

Carmel Area Land Use Plan – Local Coastal Program

Carmel Area Land Use Plan  04/14/83

Low Density Residential – Carmel Highlands 740 1 unit per acre

Carmel Highlands & Carmel Riviera Master Plan  1967- Pg 14


Survey Conducted by Carmel Highlands Association

The results largely agree with the Consensus Position, although there is some ambiguity in the categories.

CRMEL HIGHLANDS Assn Survey Results.png

From the Carmel Highlands Piper CHA Piper – November 2016

Short Term Rentals Public Workshop

On 9 November the Monterey County Planning Commission conducted its second “workshop” toward developing an ordinance governing Short-Term Rentals (STR’s) in the Coastal Zone of the County – currently prohibited. Melanie Beretti from the County’s Resource Management Agency summarized and presented staff work and information developed in the year-long Short-Term Rental Working Group. The purpose was to inform the Planning Commission and seek their advice and direction in developing a draft ordinance; and to allow for public comment. A draft ordinance would go to formal public hearings. Ms. Beretti covered issues concerning occupancy thresholds, permitting options and tiers, impacts on neighborhood character, water usage and septic systems. Chairperson, Martha Diehl, asked almost all the questions from the Planning Commission. Diehl’s chief concern was: Do Short-Term Rentals cause “use intensification?” and if so, there must be an entirely different approach to any allowances or “permits.”

A Pacific Grove manager shared what he considered worked for Pacific Grove in dealing with Short- Term Rentals. He reported PG does not issue “permits” as these are tied to the property, “We issue ‘licenses’ (a privilege not a right) that can be revoked instantly for any bad conduct or violations.”

US Congressman Sam Farr explained that the original “short-term rentals” on the Coast were campground stays. He explained that with the limited public accommodations and their high cost, campgrounds became a way to provide affordable accommodations for public access to the coast without sacrificing what he called our biggest asset, “scenery.” For the protection of this environment and scenery, he looks to the Planning Commission as its “Scenery cops.”


Congressman Farr cited the Local Coastal Plan and in general did not see how STR’s were consistent with this plan. Commissioner Diehl asked if a person renting their home once a year during Car Week, as “they just didn’t like cars,” while they took a vacation was in violation of current ordinances? Beretti replied, “No.”

Residents from the Highlands were well-represented at the packed hearing. Concerns were voiced about “dedicated enforcement” of any ordinance – the lack of such to date causing much neighborhood disturbance, disruption and upset. Also, the differentiation between an owner who lived on-site and rented out a guest house in order to supplement income and stay in their home versus an absent or infrequent owner who rented short- term as purely a commercial activity. Another questioned, to Congressman’s Farr’s point, whether Land Use plans were inconsistent altogether with STR’s in Big Sur and sections of the Highlands. Attorney, Gary Patton, who represents STR advocates, urged the Commission to move rapidly to an ordinance. The point was made that any draft STR ordinance would ultimately have to be approved by the Coastal Commission. Advocates on both sides of the issue spoke, including workers whose livelihoods linked to STR’s and citizens negatively affected by STR’s in their neighborhoods.

If you have a position or concern on the important issue of STR’s in The Highlands, you should make these known to the Planning Commission. Contact Melanie Beretti at or write: The Monterey County Planning Commission at 168 W. Alisal Street, Salinas, CA 93901

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