Issues of Concern

Read the Amended Carmel Valley Master Plan

Map of Master Plan Area

Carmel Valley Village Development Criteria

Read Our Legal Settlement with the County

Read Citygate's Report on the Monterey County Resource Management Agency
and its Recommendations for Change

CVA Summary of Citygate Report on Monterey County Resource Management Agency

Rippling River:

Oct. 28, 2020

Rippling River residents have long been considered an asset to neighbors of Carmel Valley Village and beyond. They are reporting changes in conditions that lead them to wonder if there are plans afoot to sell the property.

Long before the pandemic limited access for us all, management imposed a $50 deposit to use the community room; blocked access to the pool table and table tennis; removed the donated library books; removed therapeutic exercise equipment that was donated by the CV community; vastly limited access to the crafts room; computers owned by residents in the community room were removed while replacements donated by the nonprofit Loaves, Fishes, and Computers are not maintained; the community room and access to Post Office mail was locked at random times; resident events cancelled, such as bingo, movie nights, open mic, and monthly birthday parties. They can no longer access the donated piano. The little “sharing table” maintained by residents was removed. Their vegetable garden area has been rendered off limits by removal of outdoor seating, a shade, and a trench creating a tripping hazard. The lights and heat have been set below state standards for safety and comfort in public spaces. Rats are infesting the dumpster area, which is littered with garbage. (The video is shocking.) Numerous reports are made about inspections being held without the legally required 24 hours notice. Cameras and lights in the parking lots for safety would be welcome, but surveillance in common pathways and garden areas impedes the ability to relax and enjoy the premises.

Rippling River residents are all 62 years of age or older, or individuals with disabilities. Residents are differently abled, some fully competent, some with chronic conditions, some with limited mobility, but are by turn treated like children in an institution, or told brusquely “this isn’t a hotel.” Residents would most appreciate respectful communications As one resident put it, “There has to be a way some kind of mediation can take place to create positive outcomes for all.”

A Report to the County on the Results of a
Assesment of the Historical Significance of the Mid-Valley Shopping Center
by the Firm of Page & Turnbill

November 18, 2019
Mr. Brandon Swanson
Interim RMA Chief of Planning
Monterey County Resource Management Agency
1441 Schilling Place Salinas, California 93921

RE: Mid Valley Shopping Center Phase One Historic Assessment

Dear Mr. Swanson,

At the request of the Carmel Valley Association, Page & Turnbull has prepared a Phase One Historic Assessment in the form of Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) 523A and 523B forms for the Mid Valley Shopping Center at 9550 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley (Appendix A). Page & Turnbull’s evaluation of the subject property finds that the Mid Valley Shopping Center is eligible for listing as an individual resource in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) and California Register of Historical Resources (California Register). It is significant at the local level for its association with architect Olof Dahlstrand, and as a good example of the architect’s work in a multi-unit commercial complex. Its period of significance is 1966-1967. In addition, the complex meets requirements for listing in the Monterey County Register of Historic Resources (Monterey County Register).

At the request of the Carmel Valley Association, Page & Turnbull also reviewed Anthony Kirk's September 18, 2019 letter report regarding the Mid Valley Shopping Center at 9550 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley, Monterey County (APNs 169-234-007 and 169-234-008) (Appendix B). Our comments are provided in Appendix C.

The Mid Valley Shopping Center is not currently listed on the National Register, California Register, or Monterey County Register. The subject property is not listed in the April 5, 2012 Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) Directory of Properties in the Historic Property Data File for Monterey County, indicating that there is currently no formal evaluation on file for the address in the California Historical Resources Information System (CHRIS). Kirk's September 2019 letter report reached a finding that the Mid Valley Shopping Center is ineligible for listing in the National Register, California Register, or Monterey County Register as it lacks significance under any of the criteria for evaluation.

Page & Turnbull conducted a site visit to the subject property on October 11, 2019, to photograph and inspect the existing conditions of building exteriors and landscape elements. Additional research regarding the subject property was conducted at the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design Archives, secondary sources regarding Monterey County architecture in the collection of Page & Turnbull, and using online databases including the UC Santa Barbara Aerial Photograph Collection, Online Archive of California,, and historic California newspapers at

The following summary of the property’s historic significance is excerpted from Page & Turnbull’s evaluation of the its eligibility for the National Register and California Register:

The Mid Valley Shopping Center appears to be individually eligible under Criterion C/3 (Architecture) for its association with locally prominent architect, Olof Dahlstrand. The shopping center exemplifies Dahlstrand’s use of form and material in a Wrightian-inspired design that respects the features of its surrounding natural environment. Though an undoubtedly commercial complex, Frank Lloyd Wright’s influences can be seen in the use of naturalistic materials and dramatic roof lines echoing the surrounding hill slopes. Further, it is a unique example of the application of the architect's work to a large suburban commercial complex, with integrated vehicle parking and circulation in addition to pedestrian walkways and courtyards.

Page & Turnbull’s attached DPR 523A and 523B forms for the property provide additional detail regarding existing conditions, the design and construction sequence of the complex, and context for evaluation of its historic significance. Following evaluation of the shopping center according to the criteria for listing in the National Register and California Register, Page & Turnbull provides an analysis of the shopping center’s integrity and a list of its character-defining features. Based on our finding that the property is eligible for the National Register and California Register, the Mid Valley Shopping Center should be considered an historical resource for the purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).1 

Sincerely, Stacy Kozakavich
Cultural Resources Planner
Page & Turnbull 

Link to Page and Turnbull's report
including a letter from the developer's consultant and P&T's response.

Read About the Recent Sale of Another Dahstrand Creation

A committee of valley residents organized by CVA members has created survey concerning the center.

Results of Survey

Link to the Developer's Plan

Letter to the Valley Community from the Developer

Results of Our Spring 2017 Survey of Valley Residents' Concerns:

Numerical Results

Written Responses

Update: Under pressure from CVA and community groups, the county has initiated a hotline for residents to report problems with short-term rentals in their

by telephone at (831) 900-4441, or by an online form at

Consensus Position on Short-Term Rentals in Monterey County
Date: July 10, 2018

To:                 Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission Members
CC :                Carl Holm, John Dugan, Melanie Beretti
From:           Pris Walton, President, Carmel Valley Association
Subject:       Short-Term Rental Ordinance.

The Carmel Valley Association has provided previous comments on the draft Short-Term Rental Ordinance as it has moved thorough previous workshops.   The comments contained in this communication represent the views not only of the Carmel Valley Association, but also a coalition of residents’ associations and individuals from the Carmel Valley, Carmel Highlands, and Mal Paso and Big Sur. CVA has agreed to assume leadership in representing the jointly held views of these associations and organizations and to submit this letter on behalf of the entire coalition (please see signatures below for details on the coalition membership).

We strongly believe that the research, findings and reports on short term rentals from other communities should inform any decisions undertaken by Monterey County. Additionally, local Monterey County contextual facts, limits and constraints need to be considered and inform any decisions made by the Planning Commission.

As the Monterey County Hospitality Association has written:

“The Monterey County Hospitality Association opposes Short-Term Rentals (STRs) in Monterey County’s Cities and unincorporated areas due to the negative impact it will have on the following: Protection of community character, particularly single family residential neighborhoods; Impacts on the limited housing stock, especially for medium to low income and workforce housing; Areas of limited resources and constrained infrastructure; Other visitor serving accommodations . . . “

The following factors are critical as you consider what kind of STR ordinance is needed.

Affordable Housing:   STRs and HomeStays encourage the conversion of long term rentals to tourist use, and reduces the supply of affordable, decent, safe, long term housing for people of all income levels. Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles Santa Cruz, Bishop, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica, among others, have passed ordinances limiting STRs to regulated Home Stays because of this undesirable effect.

• STRs and Home Stays negate local Zoning Ordinances. Allowing STRs/Home Stays is the practical equivalent of defacto re-zoning residential areas into commercial visitor serving units. Residentially zoned areas traditionally permit non-intrusive business activity. Examples of such permitted activities are home offices, bookkeeping services, and music instruction. Such services are conducted by owners or residents who live on the property, and generally have a minimal impact on neighborhoods. Allowing non-owner occupied STRs and Home Stays, which are, in essence, hotels in residential areas, is inconsistent with residential zonings, and increases the risk of significant disruption of quiet neighborhoods.

•The Stability of neighborhoods; Rentals affect the essential character of neighborhoods and the stability of communities.  As cited in Ewing v. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, 234 Cal. App. 3d 1579,  “Short-term tenants have little interest in public agencies or in the welfare of the citizenry. They do not participate in local government, coach little league, or join the hospital guild. They do not lead a scout troop, volunteer at the library, or keep an eye on an elderly neighbor. Literally, they are here today and gone tomorrow — without engaging in the sort of activities that weld and strengthen a community.”

• Increases Water Use. STRs/Home Stays multiply the numbers of individuals using water, and in turn, overall water use. In an area such as ours with an already inadequate and unsustainable water supply, adding such an additional burden would not be in the interest of Monterey County residents.

• Increases  Traffic.  The Land Use Plans were carefully calibrated to not overburden infrastructure like roads by limiting the number of homes and visitor serving businesses allowed by the Land Use Plan.  The explosion of STRs/Home Stays in excess of those limits has created traffic and other serious problems that harms residents and the licensed visitor serving businesses. 

Our Consensus Position

The Carmel Valley Association and the Coalition strongly recommend that Short Term Rentals (STRs) be limited to “Home Stays.”   “Home stays” are defined as short-term rentals that are owner occupied and managed. No absentee owners, property management companies, corporations, or LLC’s would be permitted. The owner would be required to be a permanent year round resident, and the home would be his or her primary residence. The owner would be required to live in, and be present on site, during the STR/Home Stay rental period.  Owners would be limited to no more than one STR.

The CVA and the aforementioned groups and organizations will support only hosted Home Stays (subject to Visitor Serving Unit Limitations) as defined above with a strong enforcement system, close supervision and accountability.  We categorically oppose all non-hosted STR’S.

Specifically we recommend the following for an STR Ordinance:

  • Owner must be a natural person, or Living Trust for a Natural Person who is a permanent year-round resident, and the home is his or her primary residence
  • No absentee owners, property management companies, corporations, LLC’s , or other forms  of ownership is permitted.
  •  The owner be required to live in and be present on site during the STR/Home Stay rental period. 
  • The “Home Stay” version of STR must at all times operate as if it were a residence, and not a hotel, party house, special event location, or other use inconsistent with the zoning in which it is located.  
  • STR’s (including “Home Stay’s) must, of course, be counted as Visitor Serving Units (VSU’s).  Each bedroom of a STR or Home Stay is counted as one VSU (just like for hotels) and must not exceed the remaining limits on the number of new Visitor Serving Units under their Land Use Plans for all areas, including:    
  • Carmel Area Land Use Plan, Local Coastal Program certified April 14, 1983.  This plan allows for only 28 additional VSU’s, all in the Point Lobos area;
    • Big Sur Land Use Plan/Big Sur Coast Planning Area.  It is the position of the Big Sur LCP Defense Committee that these plans have no room for STRs and/or Home Stays.  
    • Carmel Valley Master Plan
  • Effective and verifiable self-policing. 
    • Monterey County must first complete a study on required personnel and resources to enforce the ordinance, and then provide those resources;
    • Owners must provide multiple forms of proof they are year-round residents; and
    • Electronic evidence available over the internet that they physically resided at the STR during the Home Rental. 
    • Verification to be done by Monterey County. 
    • Licenses for STRs/Home Stays are only valid as long as Monterey County provides the personnel and financial resources to enforce the ordinance. 
    • If Monterey County fails to provide adequate enforcement resources, STR/Home Stay licenses will be suspended until Monterey County remedies by providing required enforcement resources.
    • The County must adopt pro-active enforcement, using Host Compliance or similar service to locate violators, rather than relying on complaints from residents.
  • No advertising of unpermitted rentals, and Host Compliance or equivalent service is required. Permit numbers must be posted in any ads.
  • The total number of Home Stay guests cannot exceed 2 per the number of permitted bedrooms, less one bedroom for the in-residence owner.  If the owner resides with their family a suitable number of bedrooms must be set aside for their use.    
  • Rentals for more than 30 days or more are permitted but subject to TOT, if rented for 30 day periods, or periods less than a standard one year lease.    
  • Owners would be limited to one STR/Home Stay regardless of an interest in other properties the owner may have in Monterey County.
  • Parking at STR’s/Home Stays must be provided off-street for both visitors and residents.
  • Fires must be limited to existing barbecue pits and fireplaces.
  • STR’s/Home Stays must be spaced at least 1000 feet from each other, and notice of intent by the Planning Commission to permit an STR/Home Stay must be given to all neighbors within a 1,000 foot radius prior to issuance of the permit.  If a neighbor objects, a hearing must be scheduled and the objections considered before a permit is issued.
  • As a condition of approving any application for a STR/Home Stay the applicant must provide a letter from the water supplier to that location that there is sufficient water for the maximum possible use of the property; and, the Department responsible for leach field safety states the leach field is adequately sized and properly maintained for the maximum possible use of the property.
  • STR/Home Stays must be completely subject to the rules and restrictions of private roads, and may be banned along such roads.

 [Incorporated From the Draft Ordinance Issued by the Planning Commission]

Violation Penalties, Fines, STR’s are a “Nuisance” etc.

  • The remedies provided by this [ordinance] are cumulative and in addition to any other remedies available at law or in equity.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any provision, or to fail to comply with any of the requirements, of this Chapter. Any person violating any of the provisions or failing to comply with any of the mandatory requirements of this Chapter shall be guilty of an infraction. No proof of knowledge, intent, or other mental state is required to establish a violation.
  • Any condition caused or allowed to exist in violation of any of the provisions of this Chapter shall be deemed a public nuisance and shall, at the discretion of County, create a cause of action for penalty pursuant to Chapters 1.22 of this Code, and any other action authorized by law.
  • Each and every violation of this Chapter shall constitute a separate violation and shall be subject to all remedies and enforcement measures authorized by the Monterey County Code or otherwise authorized by law. Additionally, as a public nuisance, any violation of this Chapter shall be subject to injunctive relief, disgorgement of any payment to the County of any and all monies unlawfully obtained, costs of abatement, costs of restoration, costs of investigation, attorney fees, and any other relief or remedy available at law or in equity. The County may also pursue any and all remedies and actions available and applicable under state and local laws for any violations committed by the STR/Home Stay rental activity or persons related thereto, or associated with, the STR/Home Stay rental activity.
  • For violations of short term/home stay rental codes, an Enforcement Official may issue to a responsible person an administrative citation that imposes:
    • A fine not exceeding four-hundred percent (400%) of the Advertised Rental Rate per day per violation or one thousand dollars ($1000.00) per day per violation for STR/Home Stay rentals without an Advertised Rental Rate for a first violation;
    • A fine not exceeding six-hundred percent (600%) of the Advertised Rental Rate per day per violation or two thousand five hundred dollars ($2500.00) per day per violation for STR/Home Stay rentals without an Advertised Rental Rate for a second violation of the same ordinance within one year; and
    • A fine not exceeding eight-hundred percent (800%) of the Advertised Rental Rate per day per violation or five thousand dollars ($5000.00) per day per violation for STR/Home Stay rentals without an Advertised Rental Rate for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one year of the first violation.

Carmel Valley Association
Pris Walton, President, Rich Fox, Vice- President 

 Mal Paso Creek Property Association
Michael Emmett
Lynne Boyd
Preserve Carmel Highlands
Bob Danziger
Lorraine Oshea
Gwyn De Amaral
Michele Alway
Adrienne Berry
Glenn Berry
Katie Coburn

Big Sur
Ken Wright
Kirk Gafill

Monterey County Planning Commission Approves Revised Plan for Rancho Cañada Village
How we got here:

In 2016, developer Alan Williams submitted and had approved by the Board of Supervisors a proposal for a 130-unit development on the former Rancho Cañada golf course. CVA challenged the decision in Superior Court based on faults in the Environment Impact Report, the failure of the County to properly follow the requirements of the Carmel Valley Revised General Plan, and the fact that the proposed 20% affordable housing did not meet county requirements. CVA’s suit was successful, and we entered into negotiations with the developer with what we felt were positive results. However, this spring the Court of Appeals overturned the decision of the lower court, and the developer was free to proceed with his original plan.

We were pleased that Mr. Williams agreed to bring a revised plan, which incorporated many of the elements CVA had negotiated, back to the Planning Commission, which approved it on June 9th. It will next go to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

The following is from our June 9, 2021 letter to the Planning Commission:

Rancho Canada is authorized to build RCV with 130 units including 25 affordable housing units. However, in Alternative 6B the applicant has proposed a project with 145 units by increasing the Affordable Housing to 40 units (28%). He also will provide a 5-acre parcel zoned for Affordable Housing, with utilities and roadway brought to the site, construct 4 multi-unit buildings with a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms, and rent the apartments to local employees at moderate (28 units) and workforce (12 units) income levels.  The Project has improved considerably since first presented. CVA supports the Rancho Canada Project as presented on June 9, 2021 to the Planning Commission, CVA believing that this is in the best interests of the Carmel Valley and its residents for the following reasons:

  • The Carmel Valley Association has been in discussions with the applicant since January 2021. As a result of those discussions, CVA believes that the Project Alternative 6B will be a good project.
  • The 40 units of affordable housing are designed to meet the housing needs of employees that already work in the Carmel Valley.
  • The Project Alternative 6b achieves 28% affordable housing. While the project does not target the lower income categories, it does provide needed rental housing for local workers at the moderate and work force levels of affordability. 
  • The Project layout and design will produce a well-integrated affordable housing project that could set a high standard for design, integration and energy efficiency. 
  • CVA has established a positive relationship with the applicant for Rancho Canada Village.  We will continue to be involved as the project moves along to ensure that all the conditions are met.
  • The mitigation, design and infrastructure for flood control will improve the hazards of flooding and bring relief to the residents and businesses in the immediate area along Rio Road. 
  • Construction of Affordable housing will start within a year of completion of the infrastructure, ensuring that it has the same early priority as the rest of the project. While the timeline is that it will be ready for occupancy in five years, CVA is hopeful that the applicant will complete this with in a shorter timeline because of the demand for affordable housing.
The Carmel Valley Association appreciates your consideration of these comments.


Priscilla Walton, President, Carmel Valley Association


Prepared by Janet Brennan, Environmental Planning Consultant:

Environmental review is integral to the land use decision-making process. Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) are required when a project has the potential of having a significant impact on the environment and mitigation measures are not readily available so that a Mitigated Negative Declaration can be prepared. Many sections of an EIR require technical expertise to evaluate such as traffic, air quality and biological resource impacts.

However, there are many sections of an EIR that non-experts can address.

Read Janet Brennan's Guide to Making EIR Comments

Janet Brennan is Chair of the Carmel Valley Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC),
LandWatch board member, and CVA advisor.


A Primer on Carmel Valley Road Traffic Assessment with
Comments on Monterey County’s Traffic Evaluation on Highway One
by CVA Traffic Expert Dr. Tim Sanders

Carmel Valley Road, like other roads, is divided into segments, usually just a few miles long, for measurement purposes.

Link to a Map of Our Road's Segments

Direct measurement of traffic volume consists of counting of vehicles traveling past a specified point on a road segment during a fixed period of time. The actual counts typically are recorded every fifteen minutes for several days (e.g., a week), on an automatic device. Each day’s record is made available in a readable format for analysis. Thus the fundamental measurement unit is vehicles per quarter-hour, but this is converted to vehicles per hour or vehicles per day for purposes of analysis and assessment.

Carmel Valley Road has both two-lane and four-lane segments, but because the four-lane traffic capacities considerably exceed the existing traffic volumes, attention is focused on the two-lane segments. in the Carmel Valley Master Plan area there are seven two-lane segments  of Carmel Valley Road (identified as segments 1-7), all lying between the eastern edge of Carmel Valley Village and Via Petra (just west of Rancho San Carlos Road).

In addition the segment of Highway 1 between Carmel Valley Road is critical to understanding Carmel Valley Road traffic because (1) the west-bound lanes of Carmel Valley Road are contiguous with the northbound Highway 1 lanes, there being no exit or entrance to those lanes at their intersection, and (2) southbound Highway 1 consists of a single lane that is highly congested during peak traffic times, and 2/3 of its traffic enters Carmel Valley Road so that most traffic entering Carmel Valley Road must pass through that excessively congested lane, on which traffic volume exceeds the lane’s capacity.

Two separate criteria are used to evaluate traffic service quality on two-lane roadways like most of Carmel Valley Road. Both criteria depend on traffic counts as raw data.

“Average daily trips” is simply the total volume of vehicle flow in 24 hours -- the number of vehicles per day. Each two-lane segment of Carmel Valley Road is assigned a “threshold”, or acceptable level of traffic volume, by the County.

“Percent time spend following” (defined as the proportion of time during which the separation between vehicles is less than three seconds, when measured at a point along the road and at a time of peak traffic) is not really measureable in practice. In place of actual observation of the relevant percentage of time, a mathematical model (known as an exponential probability distribution) is used as a surrogate. During an hour when traffic is at its peak, the numbers of vehicles passing in each direction are observed, and the numbers are converted, through a complicated formula, into a number between zero and 100 that is presumed to represent the probability (in %) that an arbitrary vehicle would pass a fixed location less than 3 seconds after the vehicle preceding it. Thus the traffic measurement is of vehicles passing per hour, but the numerical assessment is a percentage; the formula represents the growth of traffic intensity as decreasing when the actual volume of traffic increases.

Assessment of the critical segment of Highway 1 between Ocean Avenue and Carmel Valley Road normally has been achieved through application of PTSF (described above) to the congested single southbound lane. However, a method called “multimode level of service”, or MMLOS, has recently, and totally inappropriately, used by the County to evaluate Highway 1 traffic for projects in the Carmel Valley Master Plan Area. This method does not even consider traffic volume measurements to evaluate traffic levels; instead it uses two roadway characteristics, the number of enforced stops per mile and the proportion of left-turn pockets as traffic criteria. Thus the County’s assessments are completely independent of the numbers of vehicles using the road! Furthermore, Highway 1 does not meet the basic requirements for applying the method! Use of MMLOS on Highway 1 is entirely fraudulent. Nevertheless, the County has used this inapplicable scheme in project EIRs (the current Rancho Canada Village [project approved but in litigation initiated by CVA] and Val Verde Rd. projects), despite CVA’s explicit and adamant objections.

Time periods for analysis: ADT – 24 hours; PTSF and MMLOS – 1 hour during peak traffic.

County traffic impact criteria are applied in two ways simultaneously on two-lane Carmel Valley Road. The term “threshold” can be used in both.

For the older ADT method, “threshold” refers to a specific volume (count) of vehicle trips per day, different for each road segment, published first for the Carmel Valley Master Plan (CVMP) in about 1991.


For PTSF, which appears for the first time in the 2010 CVMP, the numbers of vehicle trips per hour at peak traffic times are, as indicated above, converted to percentages (PTSF values), and then the resulting percentage is assigned a letter grade (A-F, as in school grades) called “level of service” or LOS, with the boundary between D and E (i.e., at PTSF = 85%) being the “threshold” of environmental significance. In Carmel Valley, both ADT and PTSF thresholds must be respected (with ADT below the CVMP specification, and PTSF below LOS E), with failure to fall below threshold resulting in a public hearing before the Board of Supervisors.

LOS grades also are used in MMLOS assessments, but this is actually irrelevant; as indicated above, the use of MMLOS on Highway 1 is fraudulent. (This is readily demonstrable, and is discussed and explained in considerable detail in CVA comments to the County on the Rancho Canada and Via Verde EIRs.) The County has given, to the segment of Highway 1 most relevant to Carmel Valley concerns, an outrageous and indefensible LOS grade of “LOS C”, based on its MMLOS “analysis”. Among other things, the MMLOS “analysis” depends only on a pair of the roadway’s design characteristics, and not at all on the volume of traffic!  All other assessments of that segment for many years have been LOS F, i.e., traffic exceeds the capacity of the road segment. The pre-MMLOS evaluations have been based on PTSF analyses of the single southbound lane.

LOS F means traffic exceeds road capacity; not even one vehicle trip is to be added during peak hour.

Analysis of 2014 Monitoring and Report of Traffic on Carmel Valley Road

by CVA Traffic Chair
Dr. Tim Sanders:

The January 29, 2015 CVA Bulletin carried a statement that CVA had presented to the County Board of Supervisors in response to the 2014 annual County report on Carmel Valley Road (CVR). Some additional details might be useful to Traffic! Carmel Valley residents. Four of the five two-lane segments of CVR between Esquiline Road and Rancho San Carlos Road are near the traffic volume limits set for them in the Carmel Valley Master Plan (CVMP); for easy reference, the five are numbered

3.      Esquiline to Ford
4.      Ford to Laureles Grade
5.      Laureles Grade to Robinson Canyon
6.      Robinson Canyon to Schulte
7.      Schulte to Rancho San Carlos.

Segments 3, 4, 6 and 7 were the principal subject of the CVA statement.

These are the heart of Carmel Valley Road, and play a major role in the Master Plan and its history.

Roughly 35 years ago a number of foresighted and determined Valley residents (members of the original CVA), in order to protect the Valley’s rural character, composed a master plan covering the area from the eastern edge of the Village to Highway 1, ridge to ridge. With the aim of preventing suburban- and urban-style traffic congestion, the master plan created a process for establishing traffic standards on CVR. By 1991 a firm set of standards was in place, and the CVMP requirement that CVR traffic levels be monitored and reported annually was fully implemented. Last week’s Bulletin responded to the most recent of these County monitoring reports.

What we often want to know from the reports is, “How much more traffic can CVR tolerate until Environmental Impact Reports must show significant environmental impacts?” For a variety of reasons there is no simple and fixed answer, but we can make reasonable rough estimates based on existing policies and data. Our initial challenge is to insure that existing policies are interpreted fairly and are fully enforced, and that real data is respected. Toward that end we examine relevant parts of the 2014 report.

In the table that follows, the first three columns are the same as those in the previous CVA Weekly Bulletin, and the fourth column shows the number of vehicle trips per day that, if added, would cause the segment’s traffic to exceed its threshold of acceptability or of significant environmental impact. The final two columns show the relevant thresholds themselves as published in the Carmel Valley Master Plan, and the measurements of 2014 daily traffic volumes. The first four rows represent data collected in June of 2014 on relevant CVR segments (3,4,6,7), and the final four rows are for October on the same segments; the only segments considered relevant are those that have a reasonable likelihood of undergoing significant environmental impacts from potential new development.

Segment Date Measured % of Threshold Trips/Day Below Threshold Threshold (trips/day) 2014 Volume (trips/day)
3 20-Jun 98.9 101 9,065  8,964
4 20-Jun 98.6 168 11,600 11,432
6 20-Jun 94.6 831 15,490 14,659
7 20-Jun 98.6 233 16,340 16,107
3 29-Oct 93.0 633 9,065  8,432
4 30-Oct 98.1 216 11,600 11,384
6 30-Oct 94.7 818 15,490 14,672
7 30-Oct 98.7 210 16,340 16,130

The boldface underlined numbers in the table are the smaller values of “trips below threshold” for each segment; these are the additional traffic volumes allowed before the impacts are considered environmentally significant. Thus segment 3 would tolerate 101 new trips per day, segment 4 would tolerate 168, 5 would tolerate 818, and 7 would tolerate 210.

Typically a residential unit adds about 10 trips per day, so dividing by 10 gives the approximate number of residential units contributing directly to each segment; therefore the tolerable number of new residential units contributing traffic would be about 10 for segment 3, about 17 for segment 4, about 82 for segment 6 and about 21 for segment 7.

Since any new units generating traffic on Carmel Valley Road would contribute their traffic to several segments, the smaller tolerances are the more relevant ones; a good guess probably is that roughly 20 new residential units, or the equivalent, would formally yield a permanent adverse environmental impact on the two-lane portion of Carmel Valley Road.

Another, more complex, type of measurement called “percent time spent following” (PTSF) also is monitored and reported. It shows that segments 6 and 7 already have significant adverse environmental impacts from traffic imposed earlier. The threshold of significance for these segments is a PTSF of 85.0 on a sale of 100, and segments 6 and 7 have PTSF values of 86.0 and 89.3 respectively. By this measure, there is no available tolerance for additional traffic volume on segments 6 and 7 according to the CVMP.

Carmel Valley residents must now decide how they will respond to these circumstances in order to sustain the rural character of Carmel Valley Road and of the Valley itself, and they must now make their determination known to County decision makers. The CVMP is not self-enforcing!

Land Use

Below are links to Carmel Valley area planning applications
listed on the County website:

Active Minor Applications

Active Planning Applications

Applications Set for Hearing

Approved Applications

Carmel Valley Ranch Equestrian Center:

Planning Commission Rules Study Necessary

On Wednesday, March 12, the Monterey County Planning Commission unanimously accepted CVA's arguments that the County should prepare an initial study to look at the impacts of the proposed equestrian center at Carmel Valley Ranch. The commissioners asked good questions -- what is there now, what is proposed, what would happen in the future in light of the approved 12-lot subdivision. County staff was not able to answer some important questions, and gave conflicting responses to others. The commission rejected the staff's recommendation to approve the project on a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemption.
Molly Erickson represented CVA as counsel, and President Pris Walton and board member Eric Sand spoke in support of CVA's position. Molly and Pris had sent in correspondence prior to the commission meeting. Board member Rick Manning also attended. (Carmel Valley Ranch was represented by attorney Tony Lombardo and general manager Simon Snellgrove.) The commission's action is consistent with the Land Use Advisory Committee's unanimous concerns about the project.
Next step: the County will prepare an initial study that is based on Appendix G of the CEQA guidelines. 

3705 Rio Road:

The proposal by Foothill Partners to build a commercial retail development on approximately 3.8 acres of land located at 3705 Rio Road within the County of Monterey's Carmel Valley Master Plan Area has been withdrawn.

Our understanding is the the property, which is located in the 100 year flood plain, has been purchased by a local person with the intent of building condominiums or apartments. We'll keep you informed as we learn more.

September Ranch:
September Ranch

Our sharp-eyed community has noticed that only a few horses remain stabled at September Ranch. In some ways sad to report, the recent departures are due to a convergence of events.

First, in December the County approved the start of the September Ranch housing project on the east ridge of the 891 acre property. Phase 1 includes development of lots for 33 of 73 authorized market rate homes, construction of up to 22 affordable housing units, conservation of large areas of open space, and dedication of a parking area and trail easement on the west side of September Ranch for public access to Jacks Peak Park.

Second, with construction scheduled to begin later this year, the Barn manager decided not to renew its lease with the property owner. Equestrian and construction activities are not a good mix, and the existing boarding facility will be closed by the end of March. Most of the ranch’s land alongside Carmel Valley Road will stay as it now looks, as a protected view shed. In fact, about 20 acres at the ranch’s frontage is set aside in a parcel dedicated for equestrian use. When the dust clears, we hope to see horses returning to the ranch’s historic pastures.

Project Map as Currently Proposed

Palo Corona/Rancho Cañada Park Expansion:
Dogs & Camper

The acquisition of the former Rancho Cañada golf course for protection by the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District securess water for wildlife, helps prevent flooding, and provides new opportunities for recreation.

The land, which includes a mile of river frontage, absorbs water when the river runs high, protecting downstream neighborhoods from flooding. It is home to numerous threatened and endangered species, including steelhead, red-legged frogs, and tri-colored blackbirds. And it is part of a network of protected land stretching south 150 miles from Carmel to San Luis Obispo.

The Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District has moved its headquarters to the former golf course and oversees its restoration. A network of trails provides access to the river and connects to the parklands accross the river. The district and the local Santa Lucia Conservancy plan an outdoor classroom and environmental education programs for visitors and school groups.

Also important for the water-starved Monterey Peninsula, public ownership allows water formerly used for irrigation is returned to the river, protecting native steelhead by stabilizing flows downstream.

The existing clubhouse serves as Palo Corona’s and the district’s headquarters, provides offices for like-minded non-profits, space that can serve as an command center during fire and flood emergencies, banquet rooms to host events like weddings, and meeting space for our community’s civic organizations.

The Rancho Cañada Unit’s trails will connect with the existing Southbank Trail, may provide access to the Big Sur Land Trust’s Odello East (formerly Mr. Eastwood’s farm, immediately east of Highway 1), and Palo Corona’s units which the district calls the "Front Ranch" and “Back Country.”
The back country parcel appeared unchanged, with existing trials and some added camping opportunities. 

A Message from MPRPD General Manager, Rafael Payan, recieved February 22, 2018:

MPRPD recently received, signed, and submitted the financial grant-related agreements to the respective State agencies that generously awarded us funding for the acquisition of the Rancho Cañada property.

Each grant's purpose and intent includes: acquiring the Rancho Cañada property; substantially reclaiming, restoring and sustaining the site as native habitat; and providing compatible environmental education and passive recreation opportunities that minimize or eliminate potential negative impacts to the site's soils, plants, animals, and water features. A key goal with respect to this property's acquisition is to reintroduce common, threatened, and endangered native flora and fauna. 

Several uses that have been explored are unfortunately incompatible with the property's and grants' intended purposes. Activities that may inevitably or unavoidably result in the repeated trampling of restored habitat, and/or disturbance of extant and reintroduced native flora and fauna will not be allowed. To further this goal, MPRPD is carefully identifying trail corridors geared to keeping people on-trail.

Link to Maps of Proposals (revised to reflect changes):

Rancho Canada Clubhouse Area

Rancho Canada Unit

Front Country Unit

Back Country Unit

More information at

Partners on the project included the Santa Lucia Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. [From Trust for Public Land, photo by Carmel Realty]

Carmel Canine Center:
Dogs & Camper

On Tuesday October 27th, 2015, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to overturn the earlier decision of the Monterey County Planning Commission,  refused to certify and approve the EIR for the proposed Carmel Canine Sports Center in the Quail neighborhood. On an appeal of the Planning Commission's decision brought by Friends of Quail and Quail Lodge and supported by CVA, the Board of Supervisors voted 5 to 0 to uphold the appeal and reject the project entitlements.

We want to thank the Monterey Country Board of Supervisors for making the right choice, and for being responsive to the clear opposition expressed by the overwhelming majority of those Carmel Valley residents who spoke on the issue.

This win came only because we all worked together as a community on behalf of our shared vision for Carmel Valley. 

Property Adjacent to Carmel Middle School
The vacant field on the west side of the middle school, previously proposed for affordable housing, has been purchased by the Carmel Unified School District. We understand that atheletic fields are proposed for the property.

There is a partially completed flood control trench on the east side of the property, which was intended to drain flood waters comming downfrom the Rio Vista into the river, preventing flooding of properties to the south of Carmel Valley Road. Flooding from Rio Vista in the mid '90s caused severe damage to properties along Rio Road, including the Crossroads and Mission Fields.

Hilltop Ranch Special Event Center

After Appeals by CVA and Neighbors,
The Planning Commission Reverses the Hilltop Ranch 
"Administrative Interpretation" and Hilltop Sues the County

On July 26, 2017, the planning commission voted 7-0, to overturn the administrative interpretation that allowed Hilltop Ranch to have marketing events on site. Hilltop appealed to the Montery County Board of Supervisors, and on November 14, 2017, after testimony from CVA and neighbors, the supervisors upheld the Planning Commission's decision, voting 4-1.

Commissioners Keith Vandevere and Martha Diehl were spot on, as usual, with their questions and comments. Commissioner Vandevere made the motion to overturn the administrator's ruling. We should be very grateful that Supervisor Adams has kept them in these positions. They are terrific representatives for District 5. 

In addition to lawyers Molly Erickson (for CVA) and Anthony Lombardo (for neighbors near Hilltop), about 20 people showed up to speak in favor of overturning the decision. Richard Rosenthal, also an area land use lawyer, came and spoke as well. 

Another key argument was that this interpretation essentially applies to anyone with a vineyard on their property anywhere in the unincorporated County. You too could have weddings nearby if you live near someone's vineyard.    

It was a good opportunity to educate the commissioners on how these venues affect the neighbors and how often they get out of hand.   

The General Plan, in which CVA was integrally involved, provids three specific zoning laws that directly fly in the face of what Hilltop wants to do and is already doing in a residential neighborhood. Another influencing fact was that this "interpretation" would allow anyone with a vineyard in the whole of the unincorporated county to have "events" in Low Density Residential zones.
In January 2018 Hilltop Ranch sued the county, claiming that opponents (including CVA) waited too long to contest the administrator's interpretation and that neither the county supervisors nor the county planning commissioners had jurisdiction to hear the matter.  Hilltop Ranch withdrew its petition (its initial legal pleading) after the county objected.  Hilltop Ranch then filed an amended petition.  The county again objected.
On July 11, the Superior Court heard oral arguments on the county's demurrer and motion to strike Hilltop Ranch’s amended petition.  The court sustained the county's demurrer with leave to amend.  This means Hilltop Ranch got another opportunity to attempt to frame its legal claims in a new amended document. 

In August, Hilltop Ranch filed a third version of its initial pleading with the court.  In it Hilltop Ranch again argues that the county planning director’s “interpretation” became final for all purposes ten days after it was issued – even though the planning director gave it only to Hilltop Ranch, and not to anybody else.

Representatives for CVA and the neighbors have attended the court hearings and they continue to monitor the situation.
Reversal of the County Supervisors’ ruling, and the precedent set by it, would have an extremely negative impact on our valley!

Read the County's Notice to Dismiss

Summary of Our Appeal

What is the property that is the subject of the CVA appeal?

Hilltop Ranch LLC owns residential property in Carmel Valley in the Low Density Residential (LDR) zoning district. Hilltop Ranch made three applications in 2013, 2014 and 2016 seeking to get County permission to have special events at its vineyard, which apparently was planted in the early 2000s and is approximately three acres of the 10-acre LDR-zoned property. Each of the special events applications has been met with substantial opposition from the neighbors, CVA and the Carmel Valley Land Use Advisory Committee. The County has not approved any permits for the special event use.

What does the CVA appeal challenge?

Carl Holm wrote three communications to the Hilltop Ranch LLC's attorney in which Mr. Holm stated his opinion based on his "interpretations" that Hilltop Ranch can have special events. The three documents are an email dated February 11, 2016, a letter dated April 11, 2017, and a letter dated May 16, 2017, which CVA collectively refers to as "the Holm Letter." CVA has appealed the Holm Letter.

What is the harm caused by the Holm Letter?

The Holm Letter used a private process to allow special events uses every day of the year at the Hilltop Ranch site in the residential district. The public process was not followed. Other than the applicant, nobody got any advance notice of these three documents. The Holm Letter rewards the applicant for private lobbying and private meetings with Mr. Holm.

The Holm Letter penalizes everybody else, including:
  • Surrounding residences and property owners who based their land uses on the Low Density Residential zoning and not on a private deal they did not even know was available to them from Mr. Holm. They will permanently suffer the noise, traffic, glare, and other impacts of the special events.
  • Competitors in the Ag Wine Corridor Plan area in the Salinas Valley who have General Plan policies that allow special event uses.
  • Venues that have permits for their special events activities.
  • Everybody who drives Carmel Valley Road and is forced to endure the increased special events traffic.
Is the Holm Letter illegal?

Yes. It allows special events in a residential district where special events uses are not allowed by the zoning. It gives special uses for select private parties favored by Mr. Holm. It violates state laws and the County Code. It provides an incentive for everybody in the Low Density Residential (LDR) zone to plant a vineyard so they can have special events. It corrupts the public process. If allowed to stand, the Holm Letter will cause serious long term land use and environmental effects and will harm the public's trust in Monterey County government.

CVA Attorney Molly Erickson Letter to the Board of Supervisors
Detailing our Objections to Hilltop Ranch Special Events
(April 2017 letter)

Val Verde Units
Val Verde Drive
After CVA Members Testify,
Planning Commission Denies 31 Unit Val Verde Development

In December 2018, the developer applied for a new 41 unit project. We understand that it will include the original parcels on the west side of Val Verde Drive and land on the east side which previously belonged to the Carmel Presbetyrian Church. The project has been assigned to county planner Craig Smith and assigned file number PLN180559. Details to follow as they become available.

Expressing concern about the proposed development's non-compliance with County Development Evaluation System's affordable housing requirements, the planners voted 8 - 1 to deny the project and canceled a second scheduled hearing. We understand that the developer is considering an alternative proposal for the property.

CVA testified before the Planning Commission concerning the projects inconsistencies with the General Plan and submitted a 14-page letter outlining the defects of the project and the inconsistencies in the Final Environmental Impact Report.

Below are links to the Draft EIR and our comments. Among the points we make are:
  • The project doesn't meet the affordable housing requirements of the Carmel Valley Master Plan and the County General Plan.
  • The project exceeds the number of units allowed in Carmel Valley under the legal settlement agreed to by CVA and the County.
  • The completed project would add over 300 daily trips to already over capacity Highway One.
  • Thirty one families would be added to a high risk flooding area. The installation of a 6 foot flood wall would add risk to downstream residents and businesses.
  • There is no guarantee that the residents of the 31 units would not exceed the water demand assumed by the EIR.
  • The project would adversely impact the rural nature of the Carmel Valley. It will turn its existing rural character as an agricultural production site into an urban site. Keeping the site in agricultural production would adhere to CV Master Plan Policy CV-1.1 which would maintain the agricultural character of the area.
  • These lands are currently used by local organic farms and serve and maintain the rural character of the Carmel Valley. Converting these plots of land into 31 units does not maintain the rural character of the Carmel Valley.
The County planner is Bob Shubert, 
The project designation is Carmel Rio Road Subdivision (PLN140089).

State Park Propoposal:
Carmel Lagoon

Although not within the Carmel Valley Master Plan, the proposal from State Parks for Odello West, River and Monastery Beaches, Pt Lobos Ranch, and Bay School will affect our valley's eco-system and traffic. The proposal includes reducing parking at Pt. Lobos and along Highway one, adding parking at Bay School, Pt. Lobos Ranch and Odello, and boating and bike rentals.

Water & Flooding

CVA continues to monitor proposals affecting our valley.

Read CVA's Water Policy
Adopted 2/15/12


The Carmel Valley Association strongly supports the Carmel River Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement Project (Carmel River FREE)

The project will restore habitat and help significantly reduce flood risks to over 300 homes and businesses in the lower Carmel River watershed, including housing on Rio Road and Mission Fields, and businesses in the Crossroads Shopping Center.

This project is one of the most extensive and important multi-benefit flood protection and riparian habitat restoration efforts on the Central Coast! Using a nature-based green infrastructure solution, it will reclaim the southern floodplain to direct water away from developed areas north of the river.

Read More about Carmel River Free on the Big Sur Land Trust Website

Below are links to information concerning our river and water supply.

An Overview of the Carmel River Watershed from CSUMB


Water Wasted to the Sea?

From the Monterey County Weekly, a history of water on the Monterey Peninsula written by reporter Asaf Shalev:

With the future of the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply—and water utility—on the line,
we take a look back at how we got here.

History of the Carmel River
A working paper compiled by
the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy.

Carmel River
Stewardship Manual

A guide for people living in the
Carmel River Watershed.
Created by the
Resource Conservation District

History of the Carmel River
A working paper compiled by
the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy.

The Carmel River Watershed Conservancy
A nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Carmel River.

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD)
Water conservation design codes added to California Plumbing Code.
Additional water conservation information.

Things to Know If You Live Near
a Creek or the Carmel River

Carmel River Steelhead Association

Links to Articles on Dam Removal, Climate Change, Ubanization and Sediment

County Proposes a 8 Foot High Barrier
Along the North Side of Carmel Lagoon and River Beach

From the project Draft Environment Impact Report (DEIR):

Based on the comments received during the Notice of Preparation scoping periods, the following key topics and areas of controversy have been identified:

  • lack of support by State Parks and necessity for legislative action if proposed project component is placed on State Parks land
  • impacts to water quality 
  • technical feasibility of the proposed project components ·
  • aesthetic impacts 
  • flooding impacts on- and off-site 
  • cultural resources impacts 
  • wetland and other habitat impacts 
  • impacts to steelhead 
  • encroachment into State Parks property   
  • consistency with applicable planning policies and regulations 
  • hazardous materials 
  • public access.

CVA has concerns about the barrier's visual impact, its impacts on the wastewater plant, and its intrusion onto state park land.