For some Monterey Peninsula residents, Thanksgiving came early.
At 5:06pm yesterday, Nov. 23, Seaside City Clerk Lesley Milton-Rerig sent out an email announcing the city's upcoming meeting agendas.
Environmental attorney Molly Erickson, who represents anti-Downs activist group Keep Ford Ord Wild, opened the agenda for the Seaside City Council Dec. 1 meeting. What she saw came as a big surprise.
City Council is being asked to consider rescinding all of its approvals for Monterey Downs (which was recently renamed Monument Village), because the project applicant—i.e. Brian Boudreau—does "not wish to proceed with the project as currently approved."
Per the city's staff report, this comes after Boudreau, on Nov. 22, declined to enter into an indemnification agreement—which put Boudreau on the hook for all legal fees associated with the project—for the project as its currently proposed.
The City Council will consider whether to rescind all project approvals and send the project back to the Planning Commission "for consideration of further project revisions that project applicant may wish to propose."
In an email, Erickson writes, "Speaking on behalf of Keep Fort Ord Wild, we welcome this news. The Monterey Downs project is wildly unpopular. Seaside council members Pacheco and Campbell were correct—the project is fatally flawed, and so is the [environmental impact report.]"
It's hard to see where Boudreau is going with this. One possibility is that he wants to add horse racing back into the project.
But that revision alone seems unlikely: Council-elect Kayla Jones, according to City Manager Craig Malin, will be sworn in Dec. 8, replacing councilmember Ian Oglesby.
Oglesby was for the project—which the City Council recently approved 3-2—whereas Jones has expressed opposition to the project.
That makes it very hard to read the tea leaves. All we do know is that Monterey Downs—err, Monument Village—as its currently proposed, is dead.
It will be interesting to see what comes next.