Red Tags, Pink Slip
Monterey County Supervisors will review Cottages of Carmel assisted living project.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Note to Monterey County planners and building officials: High-fiving developers and land-use attorneys does not a good career move make if you want to keep your job.
Tim McCormick, the former director of building services, was placed on paid administrative leave and then fired, the move coming just weeks following what one resident describes as “unprofessional conduct” in an email to the county’s head honcho.
Gene Rogers, interim director of the Monterey County Resource Management Agency, says McCormick losing his job has nothing to do with the email, but declined to discuss why McCormick was terminated.
Here’s how the events unfolded.
In a March 10 email to County Administrative Officer Lew Bauman, Carmel Valley Association board member Margaret Robbins details McCormick’s actions after the Planning Commission hearing on March 9, during which commissioners voted 5-3 to eliminate requirements – including a greywater and cistern system – for the Cottages of Carmel, a Carmel Valley assisted living complex.
The CVA appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors, which will review it on April 26.
“Carmel Valley lost!” Robbins writes in the email. “But that wasn’t the straw that broke my back. That straw: The sight of Tim McCormick in the lobby after the hearing. There he was backslapping, congratulating, and practically hugging Tony Lombardo and Don Houpt on their win. This was the most unprofessional conduct I have ever seen by a County employee. If you can’t control what Tim does on the job (no red tags) perhaps you can ask that he control himself in public.”
On March 16, the county placed McCormick on paid administrative leave, Rogers says, adding: “He was released on April 15. He no longer works for the county.”
When asked if McCormick’s termination has anything to do with Robbins’ email, Rogers says, “I can’t talk about personnel issues with you. But I can say: no.”
McCormick could not be located for comment.
The assisted living complex includes 78 units on a 4.5-acre parcel at Carmel Valley Road and Val Verde Drive. Developer Don Houpt (who is represented by attorney Tony Lombardo) broke ground on the Cottages of Carmel in July 2010.
County Supervisors originally approved the project in 2004, with the requirement that the developer submit plans for a greywater and cistern system to conserve water.
“When this project was going through the approval stage, the neighbors and I worked really hard to make it a project that everybody could live with,” Robbins says. But once Houpt broke ground, she says, “Everything fell apart.”
In addition to no greywater system, the new construction isn’t “screened” from Carmel Valley Road by landscaping, Robbins says, and it’s “in your face ugly.” She submitted hundreds of signatures from neighbors listing these and other concerns to the Planning Commission.
“The Board of Supervisors made these conditions, but the Planning Commission allowed them to delete the conditions and we don’t think that’s right,” CVA President Christine Williams says. The supes will hear the appeal at 1:30pm, April 26.