≡ Menu
Share

The Hilltop Ranch vineyard sits above East Carmel Valley Road in a neighborhood of large lots and vineyards.

“The spectacular Hilltop Ranch & Vineyard where lush Pinot Noir is grown and educational tours, seminars, culinary experiences and more can be arranged. It is a wonderful setting for creating many special events with unlimited possibilities. The vistas are beyond belief!” – Cima Collina winery advertisement

So, you’re all set there in your little piece of paradise. Your place is on a hillside overlooking Carmel Valley, perhaps, or in one of the canyons of Corral de Tierra or out there along River Road or the North County hills. You’ve got an acre of unincorporated property, maybe more. Life is good.

And because you’re a smart one, you checked on the zoning before you bought. You were comforted to see that all the neighboring property is zoned “low-density residential.” That means large parcels, nice houses, maybe a few chickens or horses and a promise that none of your neighbors is going to open a store or a machine shop or a party barn where people hold weddings and the like. All is well.

Well, maybe not.

According to the paperwork and correspondence underlying a controversy winding through the hallways of the Monterey County planning bureaucracy, it appears that “low-density residential” means just that unless your neighbor is in the wine business and wants to be in the events business. Once upon a time, that exception wouldn’t have mattered much because not too many folks hereabouts were in the wine business. But the next time you drive down Carmel Valley Road, take a close look at the vines and the signs. You’ll see that it is becoming a little Napa Valley with wine shops and tasting rooms blooming like pinot vines in the spring.

At the center of this land-use fight is the Hilltop Ranch vineyard at 62 E. Carmel Valley Road. You may have noticed the little sign there on your left as you head east out of the village, just past Rippling River and Holman Ranch. Despite the Carmel Valley Road address, the entrance to the property is actually off a private road that branches to the north from the public thoroughfare. Monterey County’s chief planner, Carl Holm, decided without any open public input that although the vineyard is zoned for low-density residential, it would be OK for it to host special events such as commercial wine-tasting dinners, partly because the property is owned by the same people who own the Cima Collina tasting room in the village.

Holm opted to allow the traffic-including and noise-creating use, without any specific limits on frequency, without public notice or hearing, by issuing what he calls a director’s interpretation. That’s where he rather than the general plan or the county’s zoning ordinance decides how property can be used.

What it boils down to is that Holm believes it is OK for Hilltop to hold an unlimited number of events because vineyards are allowed in low-density residential neighborhoods, wine-tasting is closely associated with vineyards and gatherings, and wine-tasting sometimes leads to fairly large events.

Holm says he hasn’t done anything unusual, even though he granted approval for the special events after the vineyard had been denied permits for such uses on three occasions. In one of those applications, the vineyard operators proposed entertaining 250 guests at a wedding.

Under Holm’s ruling, the crowd would be limited to 75 at a time but there would be no set limit on how often events could be held. Attorney Tony Lombardo, representing a dozen or so Hilltop neighbors, notes in his appeal letter that 75 people can easily become 90 or more.

In another appeal to the county, a lawyer representing the Carmel Valley Association argues that Holm’s ruling essentially rezones the property without public hearing and allows a list of allowable uses far more generous than what is spelled out in the county codes — all because the 20-acre Hilltop property includes some four acres of grapes.

Entrance to the vineyard is along a road shared by neighbors who don’t seem eager for company

Holm maintains he acted within his authority.

“Staff interprets codes every day with every customer and every project,” he told the Partisan in an exchange of emails. “Codes cannot be completely exhaustive since new ideas present new challenges not addressed in the code.”

Holm noted the low-density residential designation, LDR, allows for farming as well as “stands for the sale of ag products,” which presumably means those little structures from which family farmers sometimes sell cherries and apples.

He said he also determined that some type of marketing events were typically held in vineyards and that he reported that to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors last winter. It wasn’t clear whether he mentioned during that report that most of the vineyards that hold marketing events are in agricultural zones, which accommodate more commercial uses than what are contemplated in residential zones.

Lombardo wrote that Holm grants Hillside too much leeway. He noted that the zoning ordinance allows “viticulture” in residential zones, which means the cultivation of grapes, but it does not allow for wine production or commercial wine tasting.

Lombardo also noted that the county’s painstakingly constructed 2010 general plan allows for a “wine corridor” of wineries and tasting rooms along River Road overlooking the Salinas Valley but conspicuously does not create such a corridor along Carmel Valley Road.

Late last year, Holm told the Board of Supervisors that his staff is working on a new set of policies to regulate event spaces in unincorporated areas, language that would clarify to what extent commercial gatherings would be allowed in residential and other limited-use zones. It is a growing issue countywide but particularly in Carmel Valley with its abundance of commercial and backyard vineyards. Holm said last week, however, that the board later instructed him to focus first on completing policy language on short-term rentals in the county.

Holm’s stance is being challenged separately by Lombardo’s clients and the Carmel Valley Association, represented by attorney Molly Erickson.

In a note to its membership, the Carmel Valley Association argued that Holm’s interpretation violates state law and county code.

“It provides an incentive for everybody in the low-density residential zone to plant a vineyard so they can have special events. It corrupts the public process,” the association offered. “If allowed to stand, the Holm Letter will cause serious long-term land use and environmental effects and will harm the public’s trust in Monterey County government.”

In the association’s appeal to the Planning Commission, Erickson suggests Holm provided special treatment to Hilltop by providing significant guidance to the vineyard’s lawyer, John Bridges. (The Partisan invited a response from Bridges early this month but has not received one.)

Erickson noted that Holm had sent three emails offering advice to Bridges and his decision ultimately “rewards the applicant for private lobbying and private meetings with Mr. Holm.”

“The applicant’s representatives repeatedly peppered Mr. Holm with various arguments and claims as to why the proposed special events use at the Hilltop Ranch site should be approved. Mr. Holm repeatedly communicated directly with the applicant representatives, attorney John Bridges, land use consultant Joel Panzer, and Cima Collina events coordinator Michele Gogliucci. Mr. Holm communicated privately with them to come to a private agreement as to special events uses at the site. Mr. Holm did not inform the public or the Planning Commission of the private communications.”

Erickson continued, “On February 11, 2016, Mr. Holm wrote to Mr. Bridges giving ‘guidelines’ for special events on which Hilltop Ranch LLC could rely ‘until we get to the commission.’ Mr. Holm’s ‘guidelines’ recommended a limit of 20 visitors at a time, allowed the use of a shuttle to bring visitors to the site, and stated ‘no weddings,’ ‘no advertised events’ and ‘no portable toilets.’ He recommended that the property owner not make long term investment plans, and suggested that Hilltop Ranch amend its application to include any issues Hilltop wanted to include in its special event operations. Mr. Holm promised that if Hilltop operated within the ‘guidelines,’ the county ‘will not view it as a violation (even if we receive a complaint) and the current [code violation] case will be placed on hold until the permit process has been completed.’”

Despite the cautions from Holm, Hilltop “did hold weddings and publish advertisements for special events as shown in the county files, including mass emails inviting the public and county employees to events,” Erickson wrote.

According to Erickson, Holm repeatedly urged the applicant to make a request for a “private administrative interpretation instead of going through the public review process. Mr. Holm wanted to accommodate the special events use and proposed to go about giving permission in a nonpublic forum.”

Allowing Holm’s directive to stand, Lombardo wrote, would set a precedent allowing an unlimited number of vineyards to become commercial events spaces without consideration for the neighbors or the impacts on traffic, water and other resources.

Hilltop seeks “to create highly intensive commercial uses in a residential neighborhood,” Lombardo wrote. “If allowed to proceed, any resident could most likely justify becoming an ‘event center’ so that they too could make money from their property investment no matter how large or small. The serene rural nature of particularly Carmel Valley would be permanently destroyed. Therefore, to maintain the serene rural nature of Carmel Valley’s and Monterey County’s residential areas, the interpretation should be vacated.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Luke Coletti June 14, 2017, 9:12 am

    The same situation is occurring with short-term rentals (STRs) but on a much larger scale. Electeds are simply ignoring the zoning meant to protect the residential environment inorder to cash in on the transient occupancy tax (TOT) and other associated fees. Full time STRs are not “home sharing”, which I support, instead they represent a commercial enterprise (mini hotel) in residentially zoned areas and in the case of Pacific Grove violate the city’s general plan. The rationale is that the revenue provides essential city services but by the time they’re finished you’ll want to move!

  • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 9:13 am

    When there are conflicts of interest, and both sides have good arguments on their side, I believe that compromise is the only good solution. Many years ago I worked for a vineyard which held events once or twice a year which were wonderful and enjoyed by everyone who attended. Why would anyone be “against” events that give pleasure to so many people? I find that chronic naysayers to Everything Anyone else wants to do (with only one exception: things THEY themselves want to do) rather selfish, unneighborly, and shortsighted. They don’t care, just to mention one example, that restaurants and business owners in the Village would greatly benefit from these events, as would the employees of these businesses, most of whom are also residents of CV.

    I mentioned compromise: possible solutions would be (1) limit the number of events per year;
    (2) limit number of people attending these events; or, perhaps better, require the vineyard to hire a tour bus to take guests from a location with easy parking, such as the Crossroads (with a stop at MidValley, perhaps) in order to not add traffic to CV Road. There may be other solutions to mitigate any possible negative impact events might have.

    Of course everyone deserves to be heard, but I dislike it when a small group of individuals assumes dictatorial powers and wants to decide that only their wishes and preferences must be implemented without even considering the wishes of others.

    • Amy Anderson June 14, 2017, 9:35 am

      A reply to Helga Fellay’s comments. I don’t see how it is dictatorial for what you call a small group of people to hold the County’s feet to the fire when a public servant decides to make a private decision that is in direct violation of the County general plan. That doesn’t sound like a small number of people to me. Instead, one winery’s representatives having private conversations with county staff to get what they want despite precedent and general plan seems like the underhanded route to me. It’s again a battle between the monied winery owners and individual neighbors who live in an area where the rules afforded them protection from this kind of activity “creep”, or so they thought. Holy made himself a one man jury, and that simply shouldn’t stand. Democracy is a process, and everybody needs to play by the rules.

    • Luana Conley June 14, 2017, 10:01 am

      The points you raise would best be made in an open public process, not at the whim of one county staffer. That’s dictatorial. We chose RESIDENTIAL, not commercial, neighborhoods for a reason.
      According to Holm, all I need do is plant a few wine grapes, connect myself to a tasting room, and I too can rent out my yard for parties every summer weekend and hope all my neighbors are as tolerant as Helga.
      In my experience, turning our neighborhoods into party hot spots is not balanced with benefit. The profits go to a few, while the workers aren’t earning a living wage, and the rest of us suffer the stress of traffic and noise.

      • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 11:18 am

        Luana, I never advocated “rent out my yard for parties every summer weekend” nor “turning our neighborhoods into party hot spots.” Firstly, it doesn’t involve either my (or your) neighborhood, it’s outside the Village in the hills with few, if any, neighbors within ear shot. Nowhere does it say that the Vineyard is being “rented out.” The Vineyard wants to have events at the vineyard. And where do you get “every summer weekend.” And how do you know how much the workers of the vineyard are paid?

        • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 12:35 pm

          Luana, I hit the Submit button too quickly. Re: “while the workers aren’t earning a living wage, and the rest of us suffer the stress of traffic and noise” I googled Monterey County vineyard workers’ average salary: Base salary for vineyard worker: $30,509/hr, $15.00/hr, average bonus: $360. For Manager: $41,226/yr, $20.00/hr, bonus $1,146. I would call that a living wage, for doing pleasant work in a glorious setting, breathing clean air. I also looked up the place on Google Earth, and even if they played music (not common in vineyard events), there are no houses close enough to be affected by it. And, as I already suggested, requiring the vineyard to bus people to the event could, and probably should, be enforced. Some others in the Valley have been doing that for years. It would take care of your traffic concerns.

          • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 12:36 pm

            wish there were an Edit button: I meant $30,509/year, not per hour.

          • Jeff Baron June 14, 2017, 1:07 pm

            Helga Farley: LOL

          • sam June 14, 2017, 3:46 pm

            Helga thinks $30,500 is a living wage?
            $30K may be a living wage in most of the U.S. but not here, one of the most expensive areas in the country.
            Most of California is cheaper, yet the average wage of the entire state is c.$52K:
            https://www.google.com/search?q=average+wage+california&oq=average+wage+california&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.9437j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

  • Judy Karas June 14, 2017, 9:17 am

    This would be a very bad precedent to set. Glad to see that Molly Erickson is working on behalf of the Carmel Valley Association. Holm is standing on very unsteady ground, and the nearby residents have good reason to oppose the zoning changes and the manner in which Holm made the changes.
    The adobe on the private little road above my apartment started having events/parties there–with late night loud, amplified music, bottles left in our dumpster, etc. Fortunately, their permit was only a temporary one and circumstances resulted in the discontinuing of such parties.
    The Partisan commentary has included detailed information about Hilltop Ranch’s dealings with Holm outside of the public review process. Thank you, Royal Calkins.

    • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 11:23 am

      Judy, it seems you have never attended a vineyard event. I have never, ever, seen one “with late night loud, amplified music, bottles left in our dumpster, etc.” I don’t know what neighborhood you live in, but what you describe doesn’t happen in CV vineyards. Not even close. I recommend you visit one to see for yourself.

      • Katie Coburn June 14, 2017, 12:40 pm

        Helga, my friends live near Folktale…..the music stops by ten, but it is amplified to decibel levels above code. The caterers are cleaning, yelling, moving trash, bottles and clanking dishes an glasses until two….I have hosted parties at my house, and has the music off by 9:45, and asked folks to be careful to be quiet and not slam doors on the street. We had two weddings in neighbor’s backyards last summer. One followed all laws. One was dreadful: too many decibels, shut down by Sherriffs at 11:00, resumed loud dj at 11:15. Miscreants know there is no enforcement. Too bad for you if you want to sleep. Or listen to your own music. Events and STRs are out of control in Monterey County. Attend the hearings and listen to the beleaguered neighbors. They have lost the peace and tranquility of their homes. Where do you live? Where does Carl Holm live?

        • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 2:37 pm

          Katie: I think you may be confusing winery and vineyard. They are two different things. Folktale is a winery, not a vineyard (those plants in their front yard are mostly for decoration). What Folktale does is rent out its winery to Vineyards which do not have their own winery. Folktale is placed in the midst of residential housing and, since it seems to have been built for the purpose of hosting events (as can be deducted looking at the huge spaces set up for such purposes), I agree that they probably should not have been allowed to build in that location. I notice that while it was inhabited by its original owner, Julien, there seemed to be no complaints, which means that the original owner followed the rules. Complaints started when the place was sold to Folktale, which apparently does whatever it wants. Perhaps the Carmel Valley Association should pursue this problem which appears to be a real problem. Put pressure on the Board of Supervisors to put pressure on our Sheriff who is apparently not doing his job. If that fails, the affected neighbors might form a neighborhood association, get their ducks in a row, and take Folktale to civil court and ask the court to grant them monetary compensation for having been robbed of the quiet enjoyment of their homes. If they manage to gather enough evidence in terms of recordings and videos by neighbors, they have a good chance of winning, and if the sum is large enough, it might prove far more effective than calling the worthless sheriff. They might also ask the court for an order, or injunction, prohibiting events to last past 9 or 10 pm. With such an order in place, the consequences of violating this court order could have serious consequences, again more effective than just calling the sheriff.

      • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 12:50 pm

        I still can’t let go of your “events/parties there–with late night loud, amplified music, bottles left in our dumpster, etc.” which aptly describes “sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll” parties in college towns, not elegant afternoon events in sunny Carmel Valley, where guests drink wine using wine glasses which end up in the dishwasher, not Your dumpster. Vineyards have their very own dumpsters, but I assume that the empty wine bottles are being recycled. Carmel Marina Corp picks them up at the Vineyard every Tuesday. Nobody loads them onto trucks to drive them to town to put them into other people’s dumpsters. Vineyards are not nightclubs, they, like farms, have visitors in the afternoons when the sun is shining. They don’t have amplifiers to blare loud music across the vineyard – if they did, it would probably harm the grapes and destroy the vintage.

  • john moore June 14, 2017, 9:35 am

    The county General Plan is dictated by state law. Per the supreme court case of Lesher v. Walnut Creek(followed in dozens of cases), any act inconsistent with the general plan is illegal.

    We have a similar fight going on in Pacific Grove. Our general plan restricts Family R-1 zones to principal places of abode, for periods exceeding 30 days. The council, relying on the advice of the city atty, adopted an ordinance in 2014, that is exactly opposite: Finding 8 says: short term residential use is a commercial use of a home for a period less than 30 days. So a Short Term Rental(STR) program has invaded the Family residential zones.

    The STR program allows 300 STR homes, or STR for 300 homes per day, 9000 per month and 108,000 per year. STR usually allow for at least four people per day per rental, that is 432,000 strangers a year making their way in and out of our family areas. It is chaos pure and simple.

    Last year STR in PG paid $10M to mostly non-residential owners and $1M as TOT to the city. Those payments reduced the TOT that would have been received if the strangers had rented at legal hotels, motels and B&B’s. The motel, hotel and B&B owners dare not complain, because a vindictive city council would raise the TOT rate.

    Carmel has a general plan restriction similar to PG that prohibits STR and they have won a court case and just filed a new case against a homeowner that is violating its general plan.

    According to the PG general plan, zoning areas may not be changed by amending the general plan. To legalize STR would require a “Revised”(Updated) general plan, involving several state agencies. I doubt the state agencies would approve a new plan that changed Family Residential to commercial residential. Meanwhile, Pacific Grove families, particularly those with children and super seniors must be vigilant for the safety of their beloved families.

    As to the county attempt to breach the county general plan, it is flat illegal. To do so without procedural due process(public hearings, legal advice etc.) is even more outrageous.

    • Jeff Baron June 14, 2017, 1:13 pm

      One difference between PG and Carmel, as I understand it and as is based on reporting by council member Bobby Richards, is that in Carmel, the community is (so far) united in its opposition to short term rentals. That, and the fact that we (obviously) have a large supply of hotel rooms near the open ocean.

      • john moore June 14, 2017, 3:08 pm

        Residents of Pacific Grove are as opposed to short term rentals as much as those in Carmel. The STR ordinance is a wilfull, wanton, knowingly intentional breach of the PG general plan and state law that requires that zoning must implement the general plan. 81% of PG STR are owned by non-resident real estate speculators. Most of the 21% practice home -sharing which may be a residential use because the owner resides in the home about 300 days a year.

        The STR ordinance in PG was enacted by four anti-family members against three who stood up for the legal and civil rights of families, both long term renters and owners. Pacific Grove has a healthy supply of motels and B&B’s that suffer financially from illegal STR. In addition PG has two large hotels (over 400 rooms combined). waiting for water.

        PG voters are carefully watching its city council, including two new members that were not part of the STR vote. They will forever seal their reputation for competence and honesty, or not, if they vote to retain the 300 type A STR.

        BTW, as a result of STR, PG has a lot of legal hotel, motel an B&B vacancies. STR tourist can fit two or three motel, hotel, or, B&B renters into one STR; that’s why they love them. Except for PG, there are no other cities or towns in the county that allows STR. Los Angeles and S. Francisco do, but the home owner must live in the home for 290 days a year. Very different. In sum, PG is the most anti-family city in Ca.

  • sam June 14, 2017, 10:38 am

    I remember when police departments encouraged Neighborhood Watch. Now Neighborhood Watch is impossible in my PG neighborhood because I am surrounded by FOUR short-term rentals, strangers arriving late night. Burglars must love the fact that short-term rentals have made Neighbor Watch a thing of the past in Pacific Grove.

  • bill leone June 14, 2017, 1:06 pm

    Regarding noise in the rural areas of Carmel Valley.
    My wife & I have property on Sky Ranch Road, which we bought Before the Great Recession.
    We had a trailer on the property for a short time in order to sleep out under the stars on cool summer nights. It was quite beautiful & quiet. On a clear night the Milky Way was so bright, it cast a shadow, & it was so quiet, you could hear the bats chirping & the frogs croaking in the nearby ponds. Then, because it was a Saturday night, & one household, perhaps at Princess Camp, was having a party, you could hear loud, blaring music as if it was in an adjoining apartment. The music lasted until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, & neither I, my wife, or our two Dobermans were able to get Any sleep.
    Moreover, I’m quite sure no one else was able to get any sleep within 7 miles of the party, because the noise carried throughout the entire Valley.

    • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 3:01 pm

      Princess Camp, which is anything but princely, is a world all unto itself. No one knows exactly what the percentage of its residents with warrants out for their arrests is, but my guess is that it’s considerable. No sheriff dares to go near it unless he has good backup. In fact, the denizens of Princess Camp (I think it’s actually Prince’s Camp) are so crafty that they have outsmarted law enforcement. Trailers have front doors and also well aligned back escapes. Some are aligned in such a way that when a sheriff chases a suspect on a warrant, the suspect usually gets away by running in the front door of one trailer, locking the door behind him, runs out the back escape into the front door of the next trailer, locking that door, out that back escape etc., never to be caught. I can imagine that the noise of late night parties at Princess camp is heinous. The mistake you are making, bill, is that you assume the wine sipping and brie cheese tasting wine crowd enjoying an afternoon at an upscale Vineyard are the same people as the denizens of Princess Camp. They are not. Take my word for it. I am a wine and brie type of gal, and I have seen the people at Prince’s Camp. They don’t do wine – they are into totally different stuff.

  • bill leone June 14, 2017, 5:24 pm

    The point I was trying to make is that noise carries for miles in the Valley regardless of the income level of the people who are generating it.

    • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 5:44 pm

      I have lived in CV village (yes, that’s also in the Valley) since 1978, exactly .5 mile from CV Road with all its sinful bars and other noise generating enterprises, and have never heard any noises in all that time, except for the occasional but rare police or fire truck siren. I go to bed at 10 pm. The worst noise I hear at night is acorns dropping on my flat bedroom roof. Why are people given so to hysterics.

      • Helga Fellay June 14, 2017, 7:05 pm

        I forgot to add, bill, that the difference in life style and habits between the typical wine connaiseur and the typical Prince’s trailer park denizen is more profound than their income level.

  • Joanna Greenshields June 14, 2017, 6:43 pm

    Glad you are back in action, Royal! I shall need a bottle or two of wine after reading the comments. My heart rate just went up.

  • Tom June 15, 2017, 1:31 am

    Amazing. The back and forth here all seems to forget about one important thing regarding “private property” – what part of the word, “private” do people not understand. If it’s your property, it’s yours to use as one sees fit. Also, gov’t, whether local or national can’t seem to understand that some things are none of their business. As Ronald Reagan once said, “If the answer to a problem is gov’t, then it must have been a really stupid question”. A few examples of this comes to mind. In east San Jose there is a small air port for private planes. When it was built, it was out in the middle of nowhere. Gradually, urban sprawl crept up to its property lines and now some residents complain about the noise! I have no sympathy for such arguments. Another ridiculous over reach of gov’t regulatory nonsense is requiring that children’s lemonade stands have health permits and business licenses. Also, how about homeless people trying to work their way out of their impoverished situation by shinning shoes or some such simple service, but need to pay for a business license?

    • Helga Fellay June 15, 2017, 7:45 am

      Tom, I am in shock, I actually find myself agreeing with you on this one. I must have a libertarian streak in me, which reminds me of Lawrence Samuels which is even more shocking. Now I, like Joanna, need a glass of wine (or was it a bottle or two?). But I am not an extremist like Samuels, I just have a touch of Libertarianism, not the terminal illness. I believe in balance and compromise. I find some degree of oversight is necessary but I also find that small town governments, especially in Carmel and in PG, they go way overboard and tyrannize homeowners and, to a lesser degree, even business owners.

    • Royal Calkins June 15, 2017, 9:56 am

      Tom, are you familiar with zoning?

      • Helga Fellay June 15, 2017, 12:24 pm

        yes

    • Dan Turner June 15, 2017, 12:57 pm

      People like Tom usually don’t like the whole idea of zoning. They figure that you should be able to do anything you want w/your property. If you want to build a steel mill, or a hog farm, or a toxic waste dump on your property no one – neither the gummint nor the neighbors – should be able to prevent you from doing that. You won’t get very far trying to reason w/folks like that. If you don’t believe me, give it a try.

  • Karl Pallastrini June 15, 2017, 8:26 am

    I think nearly all of the responses miss the point of Royal’s post. over regulate…under regulate, you can make salient arguments on both sides of the issue. The point, as I see it, is one of process. Judy has it right. Mr. Holm does appear to be playing close to the edge of his authority, and perhaps beyond. Attorneys Lombardo and Erickson are going after the manner in which the approvals have been granted. Follow the adopted guidelines regarding due process and public input. Helga’s picture of Prince’s Camp is painted with a pretty wide brush. Surely among all of the trailers, there has to be at least one up-right citizen who will take exception to her comments. The first step in questioning any kind of business venture in sensitive areas is to see that existing guidelines are being enforced. All too often they are on the books, but excused by government officials with a wink and a nod.

  • Helga Fellay June 15, 2017, 9:44 am

    I hereby apologize profusely to all the up-right citizens of Prince’s Camp which I have painted with my wide brush. I am quite sure there are far more than one who live there not because they have a warrant out for their arrest, but because they are employed by vineyards and other businesses in that region and want to avoid the very long commute from the peninsula, or because they are enamored of the wild frontier feel of the place, or maybe because they couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. I am a writer who not only wants to inform but also to amuse, which causes me to get carried away at times.

  • john moore June 15, 2017, 9:49 am

    PG, Carmel and the County have General Plans as required by state law. Zoning ordinances implement general plans. Due process demands notice and an opportunity to be heard on any act that tends to contradict current zoning under the general plan.

    Carmel is suing a real estate speculator for running a motel operation out of a Family R-1 zoned residence because it violates its’ general plan and zoning in support of that plan. In PG, by a 4-3 vote the commercial biased majority has attempted to allow short term rentals , although the general plan and zoning ordinances specifically prohibit that use. County residents claim that the county has authorized entertainment events in an area that dis-allows such events by its general plan and the zoning laws that implement that plan. Procedural due process issues abound.

    Carmel has been forced to file a legal action to protect its families from commercial activity. In the county, affected residents are asking for a public hearing, including a legal opinion from county counsel to over-rule a staff decision. In PG, the city council is theoretically reviewing the STR adoption and will either readopt it with variations, or, get a legal opinion from a neutral legal expert that will certainly lead to the Repeal of the STR ordinance. If not political action(recall or initiative) or legal action(a law suit against the city) should follow; hopefully all three options at the same time. STR have destroyed family life in residential areas: it is unsafe for children and seniors who reside.there. The state law requiring general plans was/is designed to prevent store-bought re-zonings that breach general plans. In PG, the STR ordinance granted speculators over $10M in illegal rents last year and is expected to double that sum in the near future. The current ordinance allows 432,000 (more or less) strangers per year to come and go and whatnot in our Family Residential zone. So much for its motto:”The Last Hometown.” Hypocrisy knows no bounds. JMM

  • bill leone June 15, 2017, 5:15 pm

    Property Rights end at the point where they infringe on my right to Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness & Peace of Mind….so, keep the noise down & train your dog not to bark, or bring him or her inside Your house.

  • Karl Pallastrini June 15, 2017, 6:39 pm

    Bill…well said.

  • bill leone June 16, 2017, 4:34 pm

    I know one person who was once a resident of Princes Camp for a number of years: he is a Native American, a 100% disabled veteran, & a very talented artist, who has a lovely dog, by the name of Scoobie-Doo. He is Not running from the police, he does Not sell illegal drugs & he can use some help from his community, trying to make ends meet.

    Anybody commenting here ever Been to Princess Camp?

  • Bb June 17, 2017, 10:00 am

    Even the libertarians want enough control over other people’s property to insure carmel valley does not become east bay or Sonoma. That is really the point of the general plan.

    One event at one winery does not ruin the neighborhood. Perhaps they should let the event run once and see how it goes.