Development bullfight Near Toro Park
Neighborhood activists oppose housing plan off Highway 68.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Toro-area residents are gearing up for another battle in a decade-long fight over a planned 17-lot subdivision on 344 acres of grazing land in the Encina Hills off Highway 68 near San Benancio Road.
“I’m opposed to it because we don’t have enough water,” says resident Arlene Guest.
She says the scarce resource is even scarcer now than when she moved in 20 years ago.
A local community group says in a web posting that the proposed development, together with a newly approved nine-parcel subdivision, would create too much traffic on Highway 68, require the cutting of 79 oak trees, and overtax the water supply in an area where the water table is dropping faster than it can be recharged.
Monterey County planners have recommended approval of the project. Staffer Taven Kinison Brown argues that its footprint is lighter than allowed under current zoning rules: As many as 65 lots could be created, he says, and the Santa Monica-based developer, Harper Canyon Realty, plans to use existing roads, widening them only enough for homes and emergency services.
What’s more, he says, Harper Canyon, which is controlled by the heirs of James Bond film producer Albert Broccoli, plans to donate more than 150 acres to Monterey County’s Toro Park.
Still, he says, if the proposed new General Plan were in effect, the project would be out of the question because subdividing the property would be prohibited.
A group opposed to the project was scrambling to organize opposition just days before the hearing. In an e-mail, activists said they had only 12 days to read a 400-page environmental impact report and prepare comments.
Neighbors will likely appeal to the Board of Supervisors if it’s approved.