Rancho Canada

After a decade of development, the Rancho Cañada Village finally made its way to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 13. In an ironic twist, Supervisor Dave Potter took the gavel at the end of his last meeting as Supervisor Jane Parker, the chair, was unable to stay until the end of the meeting that ran to nearly 8pm.

Detractors of the 130-lot subdivision claimed the process was being rushed so Potter could vote on the issue before he gave up his District 5 seat to Mary Adams in January 2017.

Following two hours of public comment, with more people supporting the development than opposing, the supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the project.

“It’s pretty hard to rush something that’s taken 10 years,” Alan Williams, who is developing Rancho Cañada Village with Clint Eastwood, said to the supervisors. “I don’t feel like I’m rushing, I feel like I’m trying to finish something.”

Williams didn’t hold back his feelings for the Carmel Valley Association and the group's concerns about affordable housing. In approving the project the supervisors also amended the Carmel Valley master plan to bring the affordable housing requirement for the area from 50 percent to 20 percent.

Williams said this CVA doesn’t care about affordable housing, they simply wanted to block the development. He claimed the developer of a 120-unit affordable housing project adjacent to the Rancho Cañada at the mouth of Carmel Valley dropped the proposal because of fear of lawsuit from the CVA.

The association’s newsletter even called the affordable housing development a “potential ghetto,” Williams noted.

Residents of the Mission Fields, Arroyo Carmel and other neighborhoods at the mouth of the valley came out in strong support of the Rancho Cañada Village and presented 400 signatures from neighbors asking the supervisors the greenlight the project.

The majority of those who spoke in favor cited the flood control mechanisms included in the project. Properties along Rio Road sit in a flood plain and sustained millions of dollars worth of damage due to flooding in the 1990s.

The project was first proposed in 2004 with 281 units, 50 percent affordably priced. An alternative project of 130 lots was proposed in 2014 after the CVA negotiated a settlement in court with Monterey County to cap new developments in the master plan to 190.

The environmental impact report included both the 281- and 130-unit proposals.

“I did read the EIR, and God bless it, the last one I’ll ever read,” Potter said before he cast his last vote as a county supervisor.

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Jaime Eltit

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