nhl replica jersey A key site in Monterey’s renaissance is held up
The “Valero site” is the common name for 595 Munras Ave., a vacant city owned plot in downtown Monterey that used to be a gas station. After years of site remediation and lease negotiations, all lights are go for a planned mixed use development to break ground. Except for one unexpectedly major setback: The site no longer has a water meter.
“The linchpin at this point in time is the meter,” says Chip Rerig, Monterey’s chief of planning. The city discovered the meter was gone about three years ago, he adds, but didn’t raise any alarms.
The sticking point: Since the state issued a cease and desist order against California American Water in October 2009 to stop over pumping the Carmel River, Cal Am is prohibited from issuing new water meters. Rerig says city staff appealed to Cal Am that this wasn’t a “new” meter, just the replacement of a pre existing one. No luck.
“They went to the state, and the state said no,” Rerig says. “So I met with Cal Am, and they say if you remove a meter somewhere else, we can make a fair argument to replace it.”
Rerig started with an irrigation meter that the city no longer uses near the Hyatt Regency Monterey. But in circular logic, state water officials denied his bid to use that meter for the Valero parcel because it’s no longer being used (despite the fact the city could resume using it anytime).
The city now has its sights set on a meter used for irrigation on Alvarado Street, and Rerig is hopeful. Still, hurdles remain.
“It will be subject to review and approval by the State Water Resources Control Board,” says Cal Am General Manager Eric Sabolsice. The Munras meter was removed in June 2009, just months before the cease and desist order, because the account had been closed by the previous tenant and was still registering consumption.
“They’ve never told me that before,” Rerig says of Cal Am’s explanation.
The meter drama nearly overshadowed a decision City Council made at the meeting, voting 4 1 to allocate an additional 0.033 acre feet annually (AFA) to Anthony Davi Sr.’s development at 449 Calle Principal, which had already been promised 1.15 AFA.
That approval spelled doom for a mixed use development proposed by Nelson Vega at 2201 N. Fremont St. Vega’s proposal required every bit of the city’s remaining water, including the extra 0.033 AFA granted to Davi, to move forward.
As part of that vote, the council directed staff to issue another request for proposals for the city’s remaining water, just under 1 acre foot.
When asked what hope there is now to revitalize the city’s North Fremont corridor, which has not been allocated any of the city’s extra water to date, Rerig says: “It’s a great question.”
Interesting that the CalAm moritorium on new meters does not extend to Pebble Beach. PBCo is set to develop 90 new luxury estate lots and 100 new hotel rooms, after destroying over 6000 mature trees in the Del Monte Forest, and now wants to build a rental apartment complex by destroying another 700+ trees. WTF? Supervisors Potter and Parker (who ran on an environmental platform) are spearheading the effort. So much for representation. I guess money talks.
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