Environmental Review and Reduced Impact Alternative Planning
In April 2005, Monterey County deemed the Ferrini Ranch development application complete for submission. This action officially began a legally-required process for environmental assessment of the proposed project. The County subsequently prepared a
Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The DEIR was released for review and comment in 2012. In July 2014, the County released a Recirculated DEIR. In accordance with law, the
DEIR documents assess the project’s potential environmental impacts, identify any significant unavoidable impacts, and identify reasonable project alternatives.
The Recirculated DEIR includes an additional Reduced Impact Alternative option for consideration: Reduced Impact Alternative 5A/B. This Reduced Impact Alternative (5A/B) has been determined to be the environmentally-superior option. As described in the section below titled “Reduced Impact Alternatives”, 5A/B further reduces the number of residential units on the property and provides even greater amounts of open space (up from approximately 70% to a new amount of 80% of the project site).
The DEIR was released for public review and comment on August 28, 2012 (file number PLN040758). Subsequently, it was determined appropriate to revise sections that analyzed potential impacts in Biology, Air Quality and Green House Gas Emissions. In conjunction with this, a new site plan alternative (Alternative 5A/B) was developed. The revised sections are now being recirculated for review and comment through August 18, 2014
The County will review and include written responses to comments received from the public as part of preparation of a Final EIR (FEIR).
The County will also provide additional opportunity for public input by holding public hearings on the Ferrini Ranch project. To view the hearing schedule and other upcoming events as the information becomes available,
click here. If you would like more information about the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the state’s regulations on environmental review,
Reduced Impact Alternatives
As part of an environmental review process required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) must consider alternative plans in addition to a proposed plan. During the course of the initial seven years of detailed environmental review by the County, a reduced impact alternative plan was requested and created in consultation with the County and others. The purpose of alternative plans has been to minimize or eliminate some of the potential impacts identified in the 2005 proposed plan and to address some of the concerns raised by County staff and others in the community with respect to the original proposed plan.
The Reduced Impact Alternative 5A/B
Increases open space within the property from 602 acres to 703 acres (80% of the total 870 acres of the Ferrini Ranch property – up from 70%), supplementing the 180+ acres of open space already dedicated by the Kelton family for agricultural and scenic easements.
- Permanently preserves key scenic views from Highway 68, River Road and San Benancio Road.
- Retains grazing of the “bull field” and retains the majority of the “lupine field” to support a healthy landscape and wildflower growth.
- Protects wildlife corridors in perpetuity and modifies the lot plan layout to reduce or avoid potential impacts to archeological, biological and natural resources such as the San Benancio underpass wildlife corridor.
- Reduces proposed residential units from 212 units to 185 units (a further reduction from prior Alternatives).
- Reduces lot development acreage from 176 acres to 111.56 acres (also a further reduction from prior Alternatives).
- Reduces acreage for the proposed wine-related facility from an original 34.7 acres to 11.8 acres (again a further reduction from prior Alternatives).
- Reduces square footage for the wine-related facility from 110,000 square feet to 28,500 square feet (a significant reduction in the proposed project). The reduction eliminates the originally proposed large scale production facility while still supporting the Monterey County Wine Corridor.
- Eliminates a proposed access road in a section of Toro Regional Park and eliminates a frontage road on the Ferrini property parallel to Highway 68 (thus preserving open space).
- Includes an at-grade signalized intersection a few hundred feet southwest of the current, existing, and unsignalized Terero Drive intersection within Toro Park Estates to help improve safety and reduce area congestion. A new signalized intersection can assist access in and out of Toro Park Estates, potentially reduce traffic cutting through the neighborhoods, improve safety when turning left across Highway 68 from Toro Park Estates, improve safety in accessing the recreational trail within the proposed project area, and improve safety for students walking or biking to the school on San Benancio Road.
- Widens an approximate one-mile section of Highway 68 westward with in
existing rights of way, extending the currently widened area by Toro Park/Portola Drive. The DEIR indicates extension of the four-lane widening results in no net increase in travel time along the corridor when accounting for traffic related to the proposed project and with installation of a new intersection.
- Includes a paved bike/pedestrian path that would link Toro Regional Park to San Benancio Road on the west and River Road on the east.
- Does not draw water from the Toro Basin --- water is from the Salinas Valley aquifer. The Ferrini property owners have been paying standby fees for Zones 2A and 2C for many years.
- Provides substantial new funding for the local school district.
- Revises the internal road network to improve traffic circulation on the property and to further reduce environmental impacts on natural resources.
- Proposes a single lot to be accessed by a driveway from San Benancio Road (11 of 12 lots formerly proposed to be accessed from San Benancio Road).
- Provides lots designed for market rate and moderate income housing units. Low and very-low income units are proposed to an off-site location nearer existing and more substantial public services.
- Creates new business opportunities for local wineries with a wine-oriented/visitor-serving facility along Monterey County’s Wine Corridor.
- Promotes local employment by working with local businesses in planning and construction of the project.
- Creates a quality residential community with housing opportunities for residents today and for future generations.
Reduced Impact Alternative 5 A/B -
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Reduced Impact Alternative 5 A/B -
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