The vintage airfield at Carmel Valley village has been sold to a local buyer in a deal that seems likely to satisfy a coalition of residents who hoped to protect the site as an outdoor community space.
The buyer is Ken Griggs, the owner of nearby Griggs Nursery, and he intends to use the airfield site as a growing ground to supply his growing retail business with more plants.
"We are going to fence the property, but pull the fences in so that we people can still walk all the way around the property,” Griggs says. He ruled out developing any housing on the site. “Nobody wants houses there,” Griggs says. “For once in Carmel Valley, we are going to do something that’s not controversial.”
The 30-acre property, long owned by the Delfino Family Trust, is made up of three parcels. Griggs has closed the purchase on two of the parcels paying $925,000 for each, according to Griggs.
“We also are in the process of purchasing the last piece,” he says. “ We are taking to Supervisor Mary Adams about finding a way to allow the Santa Fly-In to happen. We have been part of that for years. Everyone is bummed that that will go away but I don’t think it needs to.”
The airfield served local pilots until its closure in 2002. Residents have since used it for walking and horseback riding. During emergencies, like wildfires, the airfield became a staging area. It was important enough that when the property was put up for sale in 2018, local residents organized the group Carmel Valley Save Open Space and attempted to buy it and put it in public trust. Their efforts fell short.
Sandra Schachter, who serves on the board of CVSOS, says she’s looking forward to talks with Griggs about the future of the site. “Let’s hope we can get some community access,” she says.