December 16, 2021
preserving, protecting, and defending the rural character
and natural resources of Carmel Valley since 1949

Carmel Valley Association
Weekly Bulletin
CVA Comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)
for the Mid-Valley Shopping Center Project 
The Carmel Valley Association has reviewed the DEIR for the proposed project and has the following comments: 
The DEIR finds the project would result in a significant and unavoidable impact:

“Therefore, approval of the project as proposed would result in a significant and unavoidable impact on an historical resource. The alternatives presented in this EIR will be considered by the County Planning Commission, or Board of Supervisors on appeal, in order to consider how to mitigate, if possible, the significant and unavoidable impacts of the proposed project.” (DEIR, p. 5-19)

The DEIR finds that Alternative 2: Design Modifications to Proposed Exterior Alterations in Compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards would not result in significant impacts on historical resources and would mitigate project impacts:

“Implementation of the design modifications above would ensure the proposed project would be consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and would not result in significant impacts associated with historical resources. Submittal of revised plans reflecting these modifications will require review and approval by a qualified architectural historian selected by the County to ensure consistency with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.” (DEIR, p. 10-8)

When mitigation measures or alternatives are identified to reduce impacts to less than significant, CEQA requires their adoption. A fundamental mandate of CEQA is that “public agencies should not approve projects as proposed if there are feasible alternatives or feasible mitigation measures available which would substantially lessen the significant environmental effects of the project” (PRC Sections 21002, 21081).
The DEIR affirms that the property is eligible for listing on Federal, California and Monterey County historic registers (DEIR, p. 5-16). The significant elements of the Mid-Valley Shopping Center’s architecture are well documented, and its architect, Olof Dahlstrand, is acknowledged as a master with his body of work described in the appendix to the DEIR, Painter Preservation’s Historic Resource Evaluation.
The DEIR’s Alternative 2 meets project objectives by offering a framework for the developer to make repairs and improvements to the Mid-Valley Shopping Center while respecting its key architectural elements. By following this framework, new modifications to the property would avert environmental impacts, offensive alterations already made by the developer would be removed, and the changes would be consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for historic resources.
The DEIR finds the project inconsistent with the following policies in the 2010 Monterey County General Plan: PS 12-12; PS 12-13 and PS 12-17. It also finds the project inconsistent with the Carmel Valley Master Plan Policy CV-3.13 and potentially inconsistent with Chapter 18.25 of the Monterey County Historic Preservation Ordinance. The DEIR should be revised to find that the project would have a significant impact on the environment, based on these findings. 

A copy of the EIR and appendices is available at the Carmel Valley Public Library and at this site:

The EIR draft is open for comment until January 10, 2022. With the EIR in final form, the project is expected to be referred to the County’s Historic Resources Review Board for consideration in February.

Update from Supervisor Mary Adams' Office on the Carmel River Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement Project (CRFREE):

CRFREE Project and Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Plan was approved by the County of Monterey Board of Supervisors June 15, 2021. This begins a two-year pre-construction and permitting phase.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has initiated its analysis of the Project as part of its consideration of the $22.9 million grant funds proposed for the CRFREE project, inclusive of funding for Carmel Area Wastewater District’s project to underground its force main and sewer outfall pipes spanning the south arm of the Lagoon.

Construction and permitting is in progress. The current implementation schedule anticipates construction to begin in early 2023. Construction will last approximately twelve to eighteen months. The Project will work with Caltrans, community members, event organizers and other stakeholders to minimize impacts or disruptions along Highway One during construction.

The Big Sur Land Trust and the County are working with consultants to initiate environmental permitting that kicked off with Project approval in June.

Grant funding of approximately $42 million will be needed. Approximately $11 million in grant funds have been awarded, with a further $30 million applied for and pending.

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Pris Walton, President
Carmel Valley Association
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Carmel Valley Association is one of the oldest, largest, and most successful community organizations in Monterey County. We are entirely volunteer, with no paid employees. Our mission is to defend the beauty, resources and rural character of our beautiful valley. We do that by working with residents, businesses, and government.
CVA was instrumental in the adoption of the Carmel Valley Master Plan and recently settled a lawsuit with Monterey County regarding traffic measurement and capping future development on very favorable terms for our valley. Our volunteer experts represent Carmel Valley's interest, testifying before governmental bodies concerning development, water, traffic, road signs, and other quality of life issues.

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Douglas Steakley