Coastal Commission takes control of permit for proposed Sand City development.

Just north of Tioga Avenue in Sand City, the footprint of "The Collections at Monterey Bay" would cover nearly 12 acres coastal land.

The fate of another Sand City coastal resort has been taken into the hands of the Coastal Commission.

The Commission held its monthly meeting at the Monterey Conference Center this week, and today, an appeal was heard on Sand City's approval of a coastal development permit for a 340-unit hotel and condominium resort on the coast north of Tioga Avenue.

When a permit is approved by a city or other agency in the Coastal Zone, the Coastal Commission can take control over the permit if any party appeals there is "substantial issue" with its approval with respect to the Coastal Act. 

The scale of the proposed development is considerable: As approved, it would cover nearly 12 acres, and it's 3- to 5-story buidings would total nearly 575,000 square feet.

The development, provisionally named "The Collections at Monterey Bay," is being proposed by King Ventures, a real estate investment company based in San Luis Obispo. 

The Dec. 12 appeal was brought by the Sierra Club and two commissioners, Steve Kinsey and Mary Shallenberger, and a short staff report to the commission outlined the key concerns over the project.

Key among them is increased coastal erosion due to the foundation of the project, and commission staff are concerned it is sited in an area that could be affected by even modest sea level rise. Their reports also noted the underground parking garage is located within the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 100-year flood inundation zone.

The staff report also indicates concerns the project exceeds Sand City's Local Coast Program (LCP) height limitations and impacts blue water views within identified view corridors established by the LCP.

The commissioners agreed there substantial issues existed with the project, and agreed to take over jurisdiction of its coastal development permit.

A "de novo" review hearing on the project will happen in the next few months. After the meeting, Coastal Commission Executive Director Charles Lester indicated he expects it to return to the agenda in February when the commission meets in Pismo Beach, rather than in January when they meet in San Diego. 

"We try to keep things as local as possible," he says. 

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