The proposed new master plan for the Monterey Regional Airport includes what is sure to become a major topic of controversy: an access road through Del Rey Oaks.
The environmental impact report for the plan was released for public comment Sept. 17, and on Oct. 31, the staff of Del Rey Oaks released a statement saying the city is unequivocally opposed to the proposed "north side" access road that would connect Del Rey Gardens Drive with a road on the northern side of the airport.
The proposed road is inconsistent the Del Rey Oaks general plan, and the statement also says the alternative—continued access to the airport on Airport Road, which goes through the Casanova Oak Knolls neighborhood in Monterey, "reduces environmental impacts" while still achieving the same goals.
DRO City Manager Dino Pick says it's "very clear" Del Rey Oaks residents have significant concerns over the proposed road's impact on traffic, noise and congestion.
Pick adds that even if the Airport board of directors approves the EIR, the airport would still have to come to the city to ask for a general plan amendment, which would trigger its own review under the California Environmental Quality Act, and would ultimately have to be approved by the Del Rey Oaks Planning Commission.
"[The airport has] to figure out what will work," Pick says. "That’s on them."
Pick says a draft letter to the airport stating the city's opposition to the road will be presented to city council at their next meeting.
The Monterey City Council, meanwhile, approved a letter Oct. 16 commenting on the draft EIR that says almost the exact opposite: Monterey supports the north side road through Del Rey Oaks, and says it should be the "first project constructed" in the airport's envisioned reconfiguration.
Not building the road first, Monterey's letter states, "would add construction-related vehicular trips, as well as trips to the redeveloped north side of the Airport, to intersections and road segments that have been identified as operating deficiently during the peak commute hours under existing conditions."
Airport General Manager Mike La Pier says that approving the EIR—which he expects will come before the airport board in late November—does not mean there's a green light for the construction of any projects it contemplates.
Public comment on the airport master plan's draft EIR ends Nov. 9.