Monterey Bay Shores Resort

From ActCoastal

Month April
Year 2014
Summary On April 9th, the Commission devoted 10 hours to an application by Ed Ghandour – Security National Guarantee Inc. (SNG), to build a ten-story, 368 unit luxury condo and hotel complex on 39 acres of coastal sand dunes in Sand City, (Monterey County). The project was based on an outdated Local Coastal Plan (LCP) certified by the Coastal Commission in 1986, but never subject to any significant updates. The 1986 LCP failed to identify any significant environmentally sensitive habitat areas (ESHA). When the hotel was proposed, staff identified sensitive habitats. The USFWS has designated two threatened species (Western Snowy Plover and Monterey Spineflower), and the endangered Smith’s blue butterfly on the property. Yet, the developer has succeeded with multiple lawsuits to restrict the Commission’s review to the much lower standards of the 1986 LCP. Despite 5 years of urging by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the developer has refused to seek an ‘Incidental Take Permit” which requires creation of a Habitat Conservation Plan in cooperation with USFWS biologists. Instead, his consultants drafted a Habitat Protection Plan that is strongly criticized as inadequate by state, federal and independent biologists.
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Outcome Description Commissioners Turnbull-Sanders, Bochco and Zimmer questioned the developer on his inadequate Habitat Protection Plan. The Commission voted 10-2 to give conditional approval for a Coastal Development Permit, with Commissioners Shallenberger and Duclos (Garcia alternate), opposed. The Commission did add a condition to require the developer to revise his Habitat Protection Plan (HPP) to address the many concerns in an April 7th USFWS letter that critiqued the HPP. This revised HPP will be submitted to the CCC Executive Director for his review and approval. During the discussion, Commission staff suggested that the revised HPP be submitted to the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife and USFWS for their comments and advice. The developer indicated his displeasure with that suggestion. Commissioner Mitchell immediately intervened to eliminate that staff suggestion from the final motion that eventually passed.
Why You Should Care This project illustrates how poor coastal development can result from the failure to update LCPs as recommended in Coastal Regulations. This project drops a massive, Miami Beach style hotel-condo complex onto the fragile eroding dune habitat. The Surfrider Foundation provided independent studies of sea level rise and erosion that estimate most of the beach frontage will likely erode in the next 50 years. USFWS estimates that the cumulative impact of this and two other projects could eliminate snowy plovers from a major stretch of Monterey shoreline. This decision shows how commissioners can also weaken staff efforts to provide full environmental reviews.
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Decision Type Coastal Development Permit
Staff Recommendation Approval with Suggested Modifications
Staff Report
Lobbyist/Agent The developer also retained attorney Steve Kaufman and Commission lobbyist Susan McCabe to advocate for his project.
Opposition to Project The project was opposed by local and state chapters of the Surfrider Foundation, Audubon Society and Sierra Club as well as Monterey Land Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity. A Point Blue letter offered scientific data on the historic distribution of snowy plovers in the region. Another letter from the USFWS provided a harsh critique of the developer’s weak substitute for a Habitat Conservation Plan. Over 2,500 letters were received by the Commission, including 700 from the Surfrider Foundation members and 1,400 from Audubon members, in opposition to the plan.
Coastal Act Policies All

Voting Detail for Monterey Bay Shores Resort

Individual vote detail for Issue: Monterey Bay Shores Resort
Martha McClureBad Vote
Wendy MitchellBad Vote
Dayna BochcoBad Vote
Jana ZimmerBad Vote
Effie Turnbull-SandersBad Vote
Mark VargasBad Vote
Greg CoxBad Vote
Steve KinseyBad Vote
Erik HowellBad Vote
Mary K. ShallenbergerGood Vote
Dr. Robert GarciaGood Vote by Alternate
Carole GroomBad Vote

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