CVA Comments on the Rancho Cañada Subdivision Project
Second Revised Draft Environmental Report
From CVA President Pris Walton's letter:
Under the Carmel Valley Master Plan, the project is required to set aside 50% of the project for affordable housing. Without the affordable housing requirement, this location would not have been considered for development. The requirement was intended to meet the needs for affordable housing in Carmel Valley. Since then, subsequent iterations of the project have been proposed attempting to evade the affordable housing requirement, and the new iteration of the project is no different.
Unfortunately, neither the proposed project or any of the alternatives meet the current standard for 50% for the site, the general requirement for 25% in the General Plan, nor the minimum 35% affordable housing requirements for projects, such as the proposed project, that are subject to the Development Evaluation System (DES). In addition, all low and very-low income and workforce inclusionary units have been removed. Moreover, the Project does not meet the general range of required inclusionary units in the 2010 General Plan:
- 6% of the units affordable to very low-income households
- 6% of the units affordable to low-income households
- 8% of the units affordable to moderate-income households
- 5% of the units affordable to workforce households
The Carmel Valley Association filed a lawsuit and succeeded, in part, on the basis of failure to meet the affordable housing requirement. The project proposes lowering the percentage from 50% to 20%, which is 30% less than what is required by the Carmel Valley Master Plan that was in exchange for allowing development of the project site.
From CVA's attorney William Parkin, who commented in a 17-page letter:
As a preliminary matter, the SRDEIR is an attempt to hold onto the dated information in the previous iterations of the EIR. When the project was approved in 2016, the County took the EIR for a project long-abandoned by a previous landowner and simply added information. The flaw, as confirmed by the Monterey County Superior Court, is that the Project Description was not accurate. Instead of starting with a clean slate and doing an honest assessment of the environmental impacts, the SRDEIR simply reuses the previously flawed EIR and deletes and adds information. This continues to confuse the public as to the true extent of the environmental impacts. Furthermore, the SRDEIR misrepresents the impact of the litigation.
The effect of the case is sweeping. The County cannot argue that all it must do is fix the Project Description and call it a day. Indeed, the environmental analysis relied on an inaccurate Project Description. Moreover, the SRDEIR adds and subtracts from analysis throughout the document. Moreover, the Project Purpose and Objectives was entirely revised. (SRDEIR pp. ES-3, 2-3.)
These assertions, and the lack of serious attention to the environmental analysis again misleads and confuses the public. Indeed, the SRDEIR asserts at page 1-8 that “Consistent with this approach, the County encourages commenters to focus on the new information found herein.” However, changes are found throughout the document. It is again placing the burden on the public to figure out what to review and comment on.
The DEIR is so fatally flawed that it must be corrected and recirculated for further public comment.