Villas de No Agua
State water board says Carmel condo project might violate cease-and-desist order.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
The state’s squeeze on Carmel River pumping just won’t leave Monterey County alone. In the latest hiccup for planners, the state water board suggests the proposed Villas de Carmelo project may not have the water it needs.
Local attorney Molly Erickson, who represents the Save Our Carmel Neighborhoods Coalition, asked the board for its opinion considering the cease-and-desist order barring California American Water from making new connections until an alternative water supply is in place.
“If Cal Am were to serve the new 46-unit residential condominiums with water from the Carmel River, Cal Am would likely violate [the CDO],” replied Barbara Evoy, deputy director of the board’s Division of Water Rights, in an Aug. 10 letter.
But developer Kevin Kane of The Widewaters Group says the water question is premature. “My reading of the letter suggests it’s not conclusive,” he says. “We’re going to proceed.”
Cal Am spokeswoman Catherine Bowie confirms that if the condo project uses more than the site’s historic water allocation, it could be subject to the moratorium. But Cal Am isn’t sure how to implement the water freeze until a lawsuit challenging the CDO is resolved. “What effect [the moratorium] would have on this project [is] unknown,” she emails.
After delaying a vote three times this summer, the Planning Commission again considered certifying the project’s environmental impact report and rezoning it from medium- to high-density residential on Aug. 31.
Project planning will proceed despite the water freeze, a staff report states, under the assumption that the Regional Desalination Project will provide a long-term water supply.
Considering how that’s going, prospective condo buyers might not want to hold their breath.