LandWatch.org

LandWatch Appeal on Sunridge Views Is Successful

December 10, 2004

Dear Friends:

I am pleased to let you know that the Coastal Commission voted on December 9, 2004 to DENY the proposed Sunridge Views subdivision in North Monterey County, on the basis that there was not a sufficient long term water supply to serve the proposed new development, which is located in an area of demonstrable groundwater overdraft. The Commission held that the County's ordinances comprising its Local Coastal Program do not allow the approval of new subdivided lots in such an area, unless and until such a sufficient long term water supply becomes available. The vote was very close (5?]5), but since a majority vote was needed to approve the project, the subdivision was denied. Attorney Bill Yeates argued the matter before the Coastal Commission. LandWatch and FANS - Friends, Artists, and Neighbors of Elkhorn Slough - were the local appellants. In its discussion, the Commission made clear that this decision will be precedent-making, which means that all pending subdivisions within the Coastal Zone should now either be denied, or held in abeyance, until an adequate and long term water supply has been provided to the area.

In fact, the local laws governing the groundwater overdraft issues within the Coastal Zone are essentially the same laws that apply in the non-coastal portions of North Monterey County. For instance, LandWatch has filed a lawsuit challenging the Board's approval of the Cathrein Estates subdivision in a non-coastal zone portion of North Monterey County. If the court in the Cathrein Estates case decides to apply the County's laws in the same manner that the Coastal Commission decided to apply them in the Sunridge Views case (and as I say, essentially the same laws govern both the coastal and non-coastal portions of North Monterey County) then this should help prevent further groundwater overdraft, by the kind of continued subdivision that the Board of Supervisors has heretofore allowed.

Congratulations to attorney Bill Yeates (who officially represented FANS before the Commission). This is an important victory for good land use policy in Monterey County. Naturally, don't hesitate to contact LandWatch with any questions.

Gary A. Patton, Executive Director
LandWatch Monterey County
Box 1876
Salinas, CA 93902
Telephone: 831-759-2824, Ext. 10
FAX: 831-759-2825
Website: www.landwatch.org

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posted 12.13.04