FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Are there
alternatives to the project’s proposed development plan?
A. Yes. The County is currently circulating revisions to the Draft Environmental Impact Report (Recirculated
DEIR). Comments on the Recirculated DEIR are due August 18, 2014. As part of any EIR, alternatives and the potential impacts of those alternatives, as well as potential impacts of a
proposed project, are required to be included and assessed.
There are 5 alternatives reviewed in the Recirculated DEIR. The alternatives range from the proposed project, to no project, to three Reduced Impact Alternatives.
Reduced Impact Alternative 5A/B is specifically identified as the environmentally-superior alternative. Reduced Impact Alternative 5A/B increases the amount of open space from 70% to 80%, reduces the number of housing units being proposed from 212 to 185, and reduces the size of the wine-related/visitor-serving facility at River Road from 110,000 to 28,500 square feet. 5A/B incorporates widening a segment of Hwy 68 and includes a new signalized intersection on Hwy 68 to assist traffic in and out of Toro Park Estates and help reduce traffic cutting through those neighborhoods. 5A/B also eliminates an access road across a portion of Toro Regional Park and eliminates a frontage road on the Ferrini property paralleling Highway 68. Please
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Q. What about traffic?
The proposed project area is within the Highway 68 corridor. According to County policies, this means that the addition of even one car on Highway 68 creates a “significant, unavoidable impact” in terms of preparing an EIR. Reduced Impact Alternatives 3B and 5A/B suggest an at-grade signalized intersection near the center of the proposed project site. The new signalized intersection, if adopted, would eliminate the currently proposed project entry through a section of Toro Park and also eliminate a frontage road paralleling Highway 68. The new signalized intersection could also assist traffic going in and out of Toro Park Estates, help reduce traffic cutting through the neighborhoods, and potentially significantly increase traffic safety in the area. Additional widening of Highway 68 along a stretch of the proposed Ferrini Ranch project area (for approximately 1.1 miles heading west from the already-widened area near Portola) can help maintain traffic flow in this segment of Highway 68.
Q. What about water?
A. The Ferrini Ranch lies within water zones 2A and 2C so water comes entirely from the Salinas Valley aquifer, not the Toro Aquifer. CalWater serves the area. The Kelton family has been paying sizeable annual "standby" water assessment fees which have helped fund system infrastructure and improvements throughout the area.
Q. What about open space?
A. The proposed plan originally proposed to retain over 600 acres (almost 70%) of the 870-acre Ferrini Ranch proposed development area as permanent open space. If
Reduced Impact Alternative 5A/B is adopted, permanent open space will increase to 703 acres (80%). The Kelton family has already placed preservation easements over more than 180 of the 1,062 original ranch acres. Additional permanent open space increases open space dedications to an amount exceeding three-quarters of the original Ferrini Ranch property.
Q. How can we be assured that the open space will not be developed in the future?
A. All of the land proposed as open space would be subject to recorded deed restrictions. Such restrictions would permanently prevent any new development. Prior dedications of open space acres are also restricted.
Q. Will the oak trees be preserved?
A. The project has been carefully designed to minimize impact on the oak trees. Under the proposed project, 97% of the trees will be left untouched. The DEIR indicates that up to approximately 3% of the existing oak trees may need to be removed, mostly for roads and infrastructure purposes. As required by County law, each tree removed will be replaced.
Q. What will happen to the bull field along Highway 68?
A. The bull field will remain just as it has been for many years. It will continue to be used for grazing and will be placed in permanent scenic easement. This means that no homes or other buildings will be allowed to be constructed in this field area now or in the future. Continued grazing will also help preserve enjoyment of the area's agricultural heritage and promote the growth of lupines and certain other wildflowers.
Q. What about the other flat areas next to Highway 68?
A. Our goal throughout the planning process has remained constant --- to create a viable plan that preserves key scenic areas along Highway 68. In addition to the bull field frontage, the Ferrini Ranch property has nearly 2 miles of frontage along the south side of Highway 68. Under the proposed plan, well over 95% of the existing frontage areas will be dedicated as permanent open space. Housing is being carefully placed within areas of the natural topography outside of and behind view corridors from Highway 68. As a result, even after construction when you travel along Highway 68 you will find that the Ferrini Ranch property will look very much as it does today.
Q. What kind of housing is proposed for Ferrini Ranch?
A. Ferrini Ranch is an opportunity to provide new housing while significantly protecting agricultural heritage and scenic viewsheds from Highway 68. The Ferrini Ranch plan proposes a total of 212 residences. Reduced Impact Alternative 5A/B, if adopted, would reduce the amount of housing to 185 units. 168 will be market rate residences and 17 are proposed as below market rate/workforce housing units. The market rate residences consist of single family detached homes located on lots averaging a little over half an acre. The below market rate/workforce residences will consist of both attached and detached units, some of which are expected to be rental units, and most of which are expected to be purchased units.
Q. Can I walk or ride my bike on the new path proposed as part of the Ferrini Ranch Plan?
A. Yes. The plan includes a paved bike and pedestrian path that will be open to the public. On the northeast portion of the Ferrini Ranch property, the path will connect from River Road to the Toro Park entrance. On the southwestern portion of Ferrini Ranch, the path will run from the Toro Park property line to San Benancio Road. If granted permission by the County, the project will continue the path across the Toro Park property to link up with the Toro Park entrance. This would create a path extending all the way from River Road to San Benancio Road, providing a new and safer scenic recreational path and a potentially desirable alternative for bikes and pedestrians now using Highway 68.
Q. How does Ferrini Ranch support Monterey County's economy?
A. The northeastern end of Ferrini Ranch lies at the gateway of the County's Wine Corridor. The County’s General Plan provides for future development of both full-scale and artisan wineries, tasting rooms, and inns along the first segment of the wine corridor called the River Road Segment. The Ferrini Ranch plan offers a wine-oriented facility at an ideal “gateway” location. With its proximity to Highway 68, the proposed facility would create jobs, be convenient for tourists visiting Monterey County and going to/from the Monterey Peninsula and greater Salinas Valley, and can help increase awareness and tourism for the tasting rooms and inns located within the Valley’s Wine Corridor. Temporary local jobs will also be available during construction phases.