• Time Grows Short to Save an Old Forest

    D.E.I.R. Proves Alternate Sites are Superior for Pebble Beach Inclusionary Housing

    Editor:

    The public has until Friday June 19 to comment on the proposed destruction of the old growth Monterey pine and coast live oak forest called “Area D” now living between residential Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach.  We appreciate that the Cedar Street Times attempted to inform the public in an objective way about the availability of the required Draft Environmental Impact Report for this project and that they can participate in the evaluation of the project.  Unfortunately, the developer’s representative, Pebble Beach Company spokesman Mr. Stilwell, managed to misinform the public through you when he dismissed traffic concerns and disparaged the condition of the forest.  The science of this E.I.R. demonstrates that the project will have negative, significant, and unavoidable impacts – even after mitigation – on both “traffic and circulation” and “water supply and demand.”

    Further, while the developers claim this forest is not worth saving,  they are also claiming that they will put in place a restoral plan for the remaining parts of this same forest – which are in identical condition.   This is mitigation they are legally required to accomplish in exchange for their destruction of “biological resources.”  The point of the CEQA required Environmental Impact Report process is to determine if there are alternative locations where a project’s objectives can be more or less met, but where less environmental damage would occur.

    In this case the report has identified two of these “environmentally superior alternatives” in and bordering Pebble Beach, and so this forest must be spared. To destroy the Area D forest for the purpose of building this project  Monterey County would need to adopt a Statement of Overriding Considerations claiming that the benefits of the project outweigh the unavoidable environmental impacts.  This is now impossible because, regardless of the projects benefits, it has been proven that there are at least two environmentally superior alternate locations where this housing could be built and still achieve its objectives.This forest has been beloved for generations. Nearby residents were raised going into it to learn about and to enjoy nature. They grew up, had children, and took them and later their grandchildren into this same forest which has always been an important part of their community life. The Pebble Beach Company had posted it as a “Del Monte Forest Preservation Area.”

    The report of 725 trees to be destroyed is inaccurate. Only trees of two especially endangered native species are guesstimated, and only trees over 4 inches in diameter of those.  Many hundreds more will actually be removed.  Destroying all of these trees and other plants, this migratory bird stop, and all of this watershed and habitat, and displacing all of this wildlife — to cram in housing that can easily be better and more safely situated nearby on sites already deforested by the Pebble Beach Co. would not be just a ridiculous and now illegal choice, it would also be a very violent crime.We hope the public will weigh in.  For more information please go to oldforestgroup.org.

    Cosmo Bua for The Old Forest Group
    Pacific Grove

    posted to Cedar Street Times on May 26, 2015

    Topics: Front PG News, Green, Opinion

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