From the Carmel Pine cone
FIRST PUBLIC HEARING ON PEBBLE BEACH Co. PLAN
by PAUL MILLER
MORE THAN three years after county voters approved the broad outlines of the Pebble Beach Company's plans for a new golf course, 150 new hotel rooms, 38 homes and a relocated equestrian center in Del Monte Forest, the first public hearing on permits for the complex proposal was held Thursday.
"This is a refinement of a plan that has been around for a long time," said Del Monte Forest Land Use Advisory Committee Chair Paul deLay. "In 1992, the company proposed 403 homes and a golf course in Pescadero Canyon. In 1997, that was reduced to 364 homes and the golf course was moved to the equestrian center site."
The current plan, announced in 2000 by Clint Eastwood and Peter Ueberroth, leaders of a group that bought the Pebble Beach Company the year before, cut the number of new homes to 38, added hotel rooms, and put wide swaths of Monterey pine forest into open space preserve.
"The project we're bringing to you today is consistent with what was approved by the voters and endorsed by the property owners association, and it is in keeping with the vision of the ownership for protection of open space in the forest," said Alan Williams, representing the P.B. Co. "It would have been real easy just to sell off lots --you take your money and you're gone--but this ownership's goal is to make the preservation permanent."
Committee member Ted Hunter and deLay pointedly asked Williams for guarantees that, if the current plan is approved, no further development would be proposed for Pebble Beach.
"We need some assurance that this is the last project," Hunter said, "because we heard the same thing when the Inn at Spanish Bay was approved [in the early 1980s."
"Does the company plan to expand the Lodge or the Inn at Spanish Bay beyond the language in this plan?" deLay asked.
Williams said the company would honor a contract signed by CEO Bill Perocchi in October 2000 putting an upper limit on development on company-owned land in Del Monte Forest That contract only takes effect if the current development plan is approved.
With no more than 20 people in attendance--many of them showing concern over the realignment of one street--the committee's agenda moved much more quickly than anticipated. Only four members of the public made comments on the overall plan, which has been analyzed in an extensive EIR costing more than $500,000.
A lot of people have the impression this is a done deal, but it's not," Hunter said. "It has a long way to go."
"That's why we're here today," Williams said. "After we go through the county process, we have the entire coastal commission process. It's been a long, arduous process, but the new ownership is committed to see this through."
The plan will go to the California Coastal Commission, where the staff has made no secret of its opposition to a new golf course where native Monterey pines now stand.