Pacific Grove city staff hustled two-and-a-half years ago to take advantage of an opportunity to get into the Car Week auction game alongside Monterey and Carmel. Indiana-based Worldwide Auctioneers approached the city asking to use the 18th hole of the P.G. Municipal Golf Course as a pop-up event space. One potential hitch: the hole is just across the road from the shoreline, which meant a permit would have to be secured – and quickly – from the California Coastal Commission.
After agreeing to special conditions such as habitat buffers, traffic and parking controls, as well as lighting and amplified sound limitations, Pacific Grove was awarded the permit and the event on Aug. 17, 2017, was a success. In 2018, the city secured a five-year coastal permit, as well as a five-year contract with Worldwide Auctioneers, to repeat the auction through 2022. Now with three auctions under his belt, City Manager Ben Harvey envisions the 18th hole as a spot for more gatherings.
“We always wanted to make it available to the community,” he says. “It’s a pristine location and what you’ve seen with golf courses all around the country is that they’re not just single-use facilities anymore.”
Harvey and his staff asked the Coastal Commission for a permit allowing up to five events annually for five years; commission staff in turn required the city to seek public input. The initial dozen responses received lean in favor of the occasional events, some citing the potential for revenue. Harm to wildlife, noise and traffic were some of the concerns of those against.
The deadline to comment is Dec. 31, and can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.