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Superior Court Judge Tom Wills has upheld Monterey County’s approval of the Ferrini Ranch subdivision along the Monterey-Salinas Highway. Disagreeing with LandWatch, the Highway 68 Coalition and others, Wills held on Aug. 3 that Monterey County’s environmental review adequately disclosed and mitigated impacts to water resources, traffic and air pollution.

The project consists of 185 lots with 168 market-rate homes and 17 inclusionary units on the east side of Highway 68 between San Benancio and River Roads. It sits across the highway from the existing Toro Park subdivision, also developed by the Ferrini developers, the Kelton family of Southern California, longtime campaign contributors to several Monterey County supervisors over the years. See previous piece on special treatment afforded the developer.

“To say we are disappointed is an understatement,” said Michael DeLapa, executive director of LandWatch, one of the plaintiffs.
DeLapa said Monterey County’s approval of the venture relied on unsatisfactory measures to mitigate water and traffic issues.

The environmental impact report said the Salinas Valley Water Project would provide a sustainable supply even though it is already in overdraft and is being seriously undermined by seawater intrusion.

While transportation officials say relieving congestion on Highway 68 is their highest priority, the development would add significant traffic to the heavily traveled road. The developer will be required to pay for another traffic signal, or likely a roundabout, and to widen a one-mile stretch of the highway.

DeLapa said LandWatch will consider an appeal.

“We remain undeterred in our strong belief, supported by strong facts, that the county and the court erred, and that Ferrini Ranch is the wrong development in the wrong place.”

You can read the court’s decision here (1.8M PDF file).

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • sam smith August 15, 2017, 3:00 pm

    QUOTE: “…the Kelton family of Southern California, longtime campaign contributors to many of the Monterey County supervisors.” PERSONAL OPINION: There should be a law that ONLY local residents can legally contribute to local campaigns.

    Ideal law:
    Everyone may contribute to the presidential campaign.
    ONLY Californians may contribute to campaigns for state office.
    ONLY county residents may contribute to campaigns for county office.
    ONLY city residents may contribute to campaigns for city office.

    • Dan Turner August 15, 2017, 5:01 pm

      I have a better idea. No one can contribute to political campaigns.
      We decide how much money is necessary to get your message out for each political office, we have a short (4-6 weeks seems sufficient to me) campaign season and radio/TV/social media have to give each candidate a certain amount of air time (after all, the airwaves are a publicly owned resource that is leased to companies for very little compared to the amount of money they make from their use of that resource). Each candidate is given the amount of money FROM THE PUBLIC TREASURY that we have determined is sufficient to get his or her message out for that office and he or she decides how to spend it – mail, hall rentals for rallies, hiring people to go door-to-door, etc. but they can’t buy any more air time. They can’t use their own money and do one else can give them money.
      It’d be a great system if you were really serious about leveling the political playing field and getting the influence of BIG money out of politics.
      SPOILER ALERT!! Don’t hold your breath waiting for anything remotely like this to happen.

      • Ron Chesshire August 16, 2017, 9:18 am

        Very Good Dan, we agree to something and it’s not holding my breath. We will never see this type of Campaign Finance Reform but we need something better than what we currently have in “good ol’ ” Monterey County which is nothing. It is in the works but I am suspicious of the delay it is currently in as elections are right around the corner. Filing for County office start in Feb..

  • Tom Shields August 15, 2017, 3:27 pm

    This is just another indication that it is time to end capitalism in this country in favor of Democratic Socialism.

    • Tom August 16, 2017, 4:36 pm

      Are you outa your bloody mind?

      • Dan Turner August 16, 2017, 7:30 pm

        Now we’ve got a “good Tom” – “bad Tom” routine. Sorry, Trolly Tom, but you’re the bad one.

  • Bob Siegfried August 15, 2017, 4:09 pm

    Having just suffered a TKO over the appropriation of Garzas Creek’s water by the Sta. Lucia Preserve, I sympathize wholeheartedly. I think a point was missed, though, in that it was a judge who ruled, presumably on evidence. I hope Land Watch sees a clear road for appeal. To cite the Salinas Valley Water Project as an instance of mitigation is ignorant at best absent a time frame.

    Democratic anything is a nice idea. The issue does not appear to be one of capitalism versus socialism. Each system has its good points. Each has been corrupted in various instances. National cultures and education systems are important.

  • Flora Anderson August 15, 2017, 4:51 pm

    Greed running amok in our little paradise. I’m sure they will have more than enough water.

  • Homerun August 15, 2017, 7:01 pm

    Building before infrastructure. Sure looks like the planners thought this through. Even if the developers were to get some kind of road work done shouldn’t they be consulting with TAMC on this matter since it could include some of the new road improvements on 68?

    • Royal Calkins August 16, 2017, 8:29 am

      The developers will pay a fee to the transportation agency that will go toward the road work, which presumably will be a roundabout at Torero Drive and a short stretch of widening of 68.

      • Homerun August 16, 2017, 8:13 pm

        No guidance by TAMC or other local agencies or even CalTran for that matter on how this will be designed? Who is responsible for 68?
        I guess the roundabout will probably be a stretched version to link the new intersection with Torero Drive.
        This link below may have already been reviewed but provides some interesting information about this route.

  • Dan Turner August 15, 2017, 9:41 pm

    Worst of all, the judge in this case was Wills, the same judge who is in charge of the oil corps challenge to Measure Z. That really sucks big time. I’m not saying that all is lost but, if Wills tends to come down on the side of developers, corporations and folks of that ilk, it’s not a good sign.

    • Stephen August 16, 2017, 11:05 am

      Maybe the result of this case would be grounds to have Wills replaced by another judge to adjudicate the Measure Z case.

      Ref. Under 28 U.S.C. §455(a)
      “[a]ny justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the
      United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might
      reasonably be questioned.”

  • Tom August 16, 2017, 4:41 pm

    Yeah! We could start with the members of the 9th Circus Court of Schiemiels.

    • Dan Turner August 17, 2017, 4:48 pm

      Schlemiel. I suspect you ain’t no Jew!