40 Acres and A Pool...
Thursday, February 14, 2002
For lo these many years, Squid has taken perverse delight in scanning County Planning Commission agendas for the latest examples and insecurity as manifested through architectural aggression. And there''s been plenty of reading entertainment: a couple of 13,000-square-foot pads approved in Pebble Beach, a 20,000-square-foot compound in Quail Meadows (a football field is 48,000 square feet), and too many huge abominations in Carmel Valley and Carmel Highlands to count. The unfortunate personalities of the petitioners tend to come through in the details; for example, most of the time the three-car garages are bigger than the caretakers'' units.
But, as of press time, the planning commission was scheduled to discuss at its Wednesday confab the possibility of putting a 6,000-square-foot cap on all new houses in the county. And some, like Carmel Valley Land Use Advisory Committee member Joe Hertlein, think even that''s too big for some parcels. "We''re suggesting that on less than one acre, 3,000 square feet should be the limit," says Hertlein. "And on one to 40 acres, have it be limited to 6,000 square feet total."
Bravo! says Squid. But what took so long?
Saving the Farm How?
Squid''s not sleeping well these days. Squid lies in bed, counting ag-land parcels, and wonders why so many Monterey County farmers--270 of them, to be precise--want to rezone their fields for residential and commercial use. In a fit of sneezes, the answer flashes into Squid''s pointy head: they want to retain the pastoral splendor of their neighborhoods.
Or so says a "Dear Friends and Neighbors" note sent out to several Toro-area friends and neighbors. It''s dated May 16, 2001--before the county''s draft General Plan was released. The letter from the Neubert and Tarp families explains the logic behind re-zoning their 40-acre River Road farm.
"Our goal is to utilize our property in a way to create a clustered housing ''village'' with maximum open space to maintain our rural atmosphere and country living" the letter simpers. "We''d like to see an environmentally compatible ''village'' with small groups of homes clustered under, and among, the oaks, equestrian facilities, hiking and biking trials and a golf course."
[Squid''s note: Repeating the word "village" enough will lull readers into believing that feral golf courses are part of the native Toro habitat.]
Because of genetic factors, Squid favors the water--clean water. So Squid set out on Monday toward the pristine National Marine Sanctuary. But before the Squidmobile could roll down the chute, an assistant scampered forth with a dispatch from Walter Wong, the county''s Director of Environmental Health.
Wong, whose visage is forever seared into memory holding a sandwich bag stuffed with a dead rat during a public meeting last year, had closed the beach below Cannery Row. There''d had been another sewage spill.
Ordinarily, Cannery Row doesn''t small as strongly of crap as the rec trail in PG does, but this day was different. Wong''s message said the "quantity" of sewage spilled was "unknown."
Squid wanted to get a rough estimate, but Wong was out of the office on Tuesday, and no one else in his outfit takes press calls. There''s the beach hotline, but it was cold and old, not updated since Monday.
Maybe before Wong retires in March, he could do his plastic bag trick again. This time, with a turd in it, so we can all be clear about what''s in the water.
Send Squid a baggie: