The Weekly is reviewing sections of the draft environmental impact report on Monterey Downs, a proposed equestrian-themed development and horse park on the former Fort Ord in Seaside. 

As reported earlier, the project would add an estimated 4,058 residents to Seaside, a 12-percent increase over today's population

With all those new people, Monterey Downs would strain existing law enforcement capabilities beyond what they can support, resulting in a potentially significant impact, according to the draft EIR.  

“The existing police facilities are not adequate to accommodate the increased police staffing and expanded operations, and to maintain acceptable service ratios,” the draft states.

The calculations in the draft EIR report that additional residents and businesses would generate demand for five additional patrol officers, one new investigator, one new non-sworn support staffer, a new school resource office and five or six additional police cars.

To mitigate the demands on law enforcement, the draft EIR calls for the developer to create a police protection services plan to determine whether an on-site substation is required, and based on estimated response times.  

The need for fire protection services poses a “potentially significant” environmental impact, according to the draft EIR.

Most of the Downs site (about 80 percent) falls within the Monterey County Regional Fire District’s territory; the district’s nearest existing fire station is about a 25-minute drive away, on Portola Drive at Toro Park.

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The Downs project would rely on a new fire station planned at the East Garrison development, currently under construction, between Seaside and Salinas.

The city of Seaside and Presidio of Monterey Fire Departments would also provide service to the community, contingent upon the Presidio Fire Department extending its existing lease for a Seaside station, located on General Jim Moore Boulevard, beyond 2023, when that lease is scheduled to expire.

If the the East Garrison station doesn’t come to exist, or Presidio station doesn’t renew its lease, Downs would need to build its own fire station, resulting in a significant environmental impact.

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Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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