Rancho Canada

The long fight continues over the development of 40 acres on the site of the former Rancho Cañada golf course in Carmel Valley.

Last December, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve a plan to build 130 homes on the land, with about 20 percent of the homes designated as affordable housing.

A few weeks later, the Carmel Valley Association, representing residents in the area, filed suit against the supervisors and the developers, Rancho Cañada Venture, LLC, Carmel Development Company, and Alan Williams.

On July 7, the association filed its opening brief in the case, claiming that the county is in violation of its own 2010 General Plan, and therefore cannot make informed decisions when it comes to evaluating development projects for approval.

The association states that the county failed to create a development evaluation system within the first year of approving the general plan. It also asserts that the county never updated its affordable housing ordinance after passing the plan.

The result is that the project, called Rancho Cañada Village, was never evaluated properly, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also knocks the county for using a “fatally flawed” environmental impact report. As an example, it says the project’s flood control plans would do nothing to actually protect future residents from flooding.

Neither county counsel's office nor the developer responded to requests for comment on Friday. 

The Carmel Valley Association hangs much of its case on criticizing the development for not having enough affordable housing.

Back in 2004, when the project was first proposed by different developers, it included 281 units, with 50 percent slated as affordable housing.

The association sued over that plan, claiming there should be a cap of 190 units. Eventually a settlement was reached, and in 2014 new developers proposed an alternative plan for 130 units.

By the time the supervisors voted on the project in December, only 20 percent of the units were considered affordable. The association asserts that the project must be at least 25 percent to comply with the General Plan.

A hearing for the lawsuit presided over by Monterey County Superior Court Judge Lydia M. Villarreal is scheduled for Oct. 6.

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