Campus Town

As Seaside makes a push to redevelop land on the former Fort Ord, it is again facing a fundamental problem – the lack of a water supply.

On June 18, the board of the Marina Coast Water District approved a water supply assessment for the proposed Seaside Campus Town Center development off Gigling Road, which estimated the project would have an annual demand of 487 acre-feet of water. That’s 301 acre-feet less than the water that can be allocated to it, per Seaside’s already-entitled water allocations.

That deficit of 301 acre-feet is roughly equivalent to the amount of water that could supply 1,500 homes for a year, or put another way, cover 300 football fields with a foot of water.

From a water supply perspective, the challenges facing the project are not unlike Monterey Downs, the failed horse park development proposal that – according to Seaside’s own environmental impact report – was 137 acre-feet of water short.

The Seaside City Council nonetheless approved an EIR for Monterey Downs in November 2016, before rescinding that approval a month later after the city got sued by land-use watchdog groups Keep Fort Ord Wild and Landwatch, and also after would-be developer Brian Boudreau wouldn’t agree to take on the liability for proceeding with the project.

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In legal settlements alone, the Monterey Downs approval cost the city over $471,000.

Seaside’s Campus Town plan and EIR are not expected to be completed until year’s end, and developer Danny Bakewell Jr. – who, with his father, developed Seaside Highlands 15 years ago – says much work remains to be done in figuring out where water can be saved in the project, whether it be through conservation measures or recycled water.

Bakewell is clear about the water supply constraints facing his proposed project – which would include up to nearly 1,500 residential units, and 250 hotel rooms, among other things – but is also confident they can be overcome.

“You can’t do a project without sufficient water,” he says.

(1) comment

Jason Johnston

The Bakewells have a track record of cheating Seaside out of affordable housing.
In the 90s they were given super cheap Fort Ord land and exempted from paying prevailing wages because they promised affordable housing at Seaside Highlands, which they reneged on. Not a developer to trust. Check it out -

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