Rancho Cañada

The revised project includes 76 acres within the former West Course at Rancho Cañada Golf Club. It would include a mix of uses: 130-unit residential neighborhood on 25 acres, a 1.5 acre community park, 11 acres of common area, and 40 acres of permanent open space. The project would be accessed off Carmel Valley Road or off Rio Road.

LandWatch Position: Comments Submitted
Project Status: Planning Commission Recommended Approval

Quick Facts

  • The project applicant is Carmel Rio Road LLC.
  • The project would create a mix of uses.
  • Monterey County is the lead agency.
  • The project is governed by the policies of the 1982 Monterey County General Plan and the Rancho Cañada Valley Specific Plan.

Project Status

Project Location Map

The project is located south of Carmel Valley Road.

Full size map (451K PDF file)
Credit: Rancho Cañada Village Specific Plan, DEIR (January 2008)

The project is located adjacent
to the Carmel Valley School.

Full size map (434K PDF)
Credit: Rancho Cañada Village Specific Plan, DEIR (January 2008)

Resources at Risk

  • Located in a Floodplain
    The approximately 300-unit subdivision would be built in the floodway and/or flood plain of the Carmel River and it entails the use of 200,000 cubic yards of fill in and around the Carmel River floodway.
  • Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    Though laws are in place that require the reduction of emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, the project would make it even more difficult for the County to meet a 1990 target and should be found to have a significant impact on global warming.
  • Water Use is Uncertain
    The DEIR indicates the applicant’s water rights have been confirmed and the project would use less water than current demand.  While the project itself may not require the same amount of water as existing uses, the “saved” water would remain available to be used by Rancho Cañada at its discretion.

LandWatch Involvement

LandWatch engages in the public process in a variety of ways. For this project, here is a list of our engagement strategies.

  • Letter: LandWatch Summarizes How Support Can Happen (498K PDF)
    LandWatch provided a list of conditions, that if the project met them, it would support the housing development. These included a minimum of 50 affordable multi-family rental units that reflect the County’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance and preference given to existing Monterey County residents. (06.07.21)
  • Letter: Comments on the Second Final EIR (524K PDF)
    LandWatch contends that reducing the affordability component from 50% to 20% is unwise because affordable housing is feasible and economically viable with this project and is counter to the Carmel Valley Master Plan. (05.03.21)
  • Letter: LandWatch Raises Additional Concerns (167K PDF)
    In this letter, LandWatch outlines its concerns that the project description is defective and any efforts to process the project should be delayed. Further, because modifications to the project have occurred that were not covered in the environmental review, additional review is required by law. (02.09.21)
  • Letter: LandWatch Comments on Revised Project (526K PDF)
    With the elimination of workforce housing, the Rancho Cañada Village project will perpetuate the unjust and environmentally unsustainable status quo of wealthy people living in Carmel Valley and average working people commuting daily to support them. There are very few areas in Monterey County where inclusionary housing makes economic sense because it requires market rate homes in a subdivision to subsidize affordable ones. Carmel Valley is one of the few areas where the economics pencil out. LandWatch believes the General Plan, affordable housing ordinance, and affordability agreement must be followed. (07.13.20)
  • Letter: LandWatch Comments on the EIR (495K PDF)
    After reviewing the alternatives in the Environmental Impact Report, LandWatch determined that the project does not include any workforce or inclusionary housing, which violates the County General Plan. (05.08.20)
  • Letter: Comments on the Draft Final EIR (469K PDF)
    In this letter to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, LandWatch outlines the failures of the County to follow its own adopted policies including: the requirement for a new application, the adoption of a Development Evaluation System, and implementation of an affordable housing component—among other things. (11.20.16)
  • Letter: Comments on the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (159K PDF)
    LandWatch has reviewed the RDEIR and FEIR. Our review finds that the process for evaluating the Rancho Canada Village project suffers from major and significant flaws. (11.09.16)
  • Letter: Comments on the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (164K PDF)
    LandWatch has reviewed the document and finds it confusing. Specifically, the following sections are flawed: project description, project consistency with the general plans, the alternatives analysis and more. (07.17.16)
  • Letter: Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (125K PDF)
    LandWatch submitted comments on the project’s environmental analysis and found it flawed in numerous sections: project description, location, water rights, alternatives, runoff, proposed mitigation and consistency with existing plans. (02.07.08)

Project History

  • Questions About Affordability Loom Large
    The Monterey County Planning Commission met May 5th to consider the environmental documents and project approvals for the Rancho Cañada project. Though fewer units would be built, the developer is seeking 20% affordability instead of 50%. LandWatch opposes this significant change and at a minimum it should be 35%. (05.04.21)
  • Letter: CVA Submits Comments on Project (209K PDF file)
    The Carmel Valley Association relayed its concerns about the Rancho Cañada project. Specifically, the letter mentions the project applicant must follow the inclusionary housing ordinance and the Association noted the applicant’s financial feasibility calculations lack substantial evidence. (01.13.21)
  • Low Income Housing Missing from Plans
    The developer of the Rancho Cañada project has requested a modification of the 50% requirement for affordable units they originally agreed to in 2004. (07.23.20)
  • Court Rules in Favor of Carmel Valley Association (17.7MB PDF file)
    Superior Court Judge Lydia M. Villarreal ruled in favor of the Carmel Valley Association on the majority of claims raised in its lawsuit against the Rancho Cañada project. The Association won on many claims, including the county’s failure to comply with the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, lack of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (i.e., inadequate project description and insufficient alternatives). (06.07.18)
  • Judge Overturns Project Due to Faulty EIR
    A Monterey County judge rules in favor of the Carmel Valley Association and overturns the Rancho Cañada project. Two key issues were an inadequate project description and a lack of analysis on project alternatives. This project has seen many iterations. (04.30.18)
  • CVA Wins on Rancho Cañada Lawsuit
    Great news from Carmel Valley Association, the court issued its decision that the Association was correct in its assertion that the Environmental Impact Report was flawed. The County of Monterey’s approval of the Rancho Cañada project and Environmental Impact Report from 2016 must be overturned. (04.28.18)
  • Land Conserved, Opens to Public
    The Trust for Public Land transferred 185 acres of former golf course land to the Monterey Peninsula Recreational Park District. Another 5 acres went to the Santa Lucia Conservancy.  More than a mile of the property includes river frontage on the Carmel River.  Since the golf course no longer needs the water, this second largest water diversion on the river, is now over—saving 1,000 acre feet of water a year. (04.19.18)
  • Rancho Cañada Superior Court Hearing Date Changed
    The Carmel Valley Association lawsuit challenging the approval of the 130 unit Rancho Cañada subdivision will be heard at 9:00 AM on February 2nd, delayed from January 26th. The hearing will be in Department 1 of the Salinas Courthouse located at 240 Church Street. The Honorable Lydia M. Villarreal is the judge. (01.25.18)
  • Opening Brief Filed in Lawsuit
    The Carmel Valley Association’s attorneys filed the opening brief for its lawsuit against the County and developer of the Rancho Cañada project.  The main cause of action is the inadequate analysis of the project because the County never implemented its development evaluation system. (07.15.17)
  • Rancho Cañada Fundraising Complete, Acquisition Next
    The Trust for Public Land reached its $11 million fundraising goal to acquire the Rancho Cañada project.  Most of the site will transfer to the Monterey Regional Park District. (03.10.17)
  • Association Relays Flood Plans Are Non-Existant
    The Carmel Valley Association has written a fact-based article on why the concerns about the potential flooding near Rancho Cañada are unfounded because the County actually needs to finish its flood management efforts or show the project with and without the flood protections in place. (02.03.17)
  • Residents Plan to Hold Association Liable if Area Floods (Page 1 & 11A)
    The Carmel Valley Association filed a lawsuit over the proposed Rancho Cañada project.  Now, the attorney for the neighbors has put the Association on notice that if this lawsuit delays flood protection they will sue them. (01.27.17)
  • Carmel Valley Association Sues on Rancho Cañada
    After the Board of Supervisors approved the Rancho Cañada project with a 4-0 vote, the Carmel Valley Association filed a lawsuit against the County and developer contesting the 130 unit project. (01.16.17)
  • Lawsuit Filed on Rancho Cañada Project (pages 1 & 18)
    Citing a violation in County zoning and planning law, the developer and County face a new lawsuit on the Rancho Cañada project.  Carmel Valley Association hired an attorney and outlined its concerns for a now dangerous precedent on all future project approvals. (01.20.17)
  • Gavel Handed to Potter on Rancho Cañada Project (Pages 1 & 27)
    Chair Parker had to leave and handed the gavel to outgoing Supervisor Potter while accusations flew from both sides about the project. It was unanimously approved by the Supervisors in attendance.  The Carmel Valley Association experienced a “flawed process.” (12.16.16)
  • Hours of Testimony, Project Approved
    After two hours of public testimony, Supervisors voted in favor of the Rancho Cañada project—only after reducing the affordable housing component from 50% to 20%. (12.15.16)
  • Supervisors Approve Rancho Cañada Project
    In a 4-0 vote, the Board of Supervisors passed the Rancho Cañada project.  It was considered the final “hurrah” of Supervisors Armenta and Potter. Part of the decision was to remove the requirement for a 50% affordable housing requirement, this move disappointed many. (12.13.16)
  • Decision on Rancho Cañada to Come Tuesday
    If approved the Rancho Cañada project would carve up 40 acres of an existing golf course to make room for 130 lots.  This would require a change in the Carmel Valley Master Plan. (12.11.16)
  • Supervisors to Consider Subdivision (Page 9)
    The Rancho Cañada project goes before the Board of Supervisors on December 13th.  They’ll consider 130 unbuilt lots, including 25 for affordable housing on the Carmel Valley property. (12.09.16)
  • Rancho Cañada Heads to Supervisors
    In what some are calling a rushed process, the Board of Supervisors will consider the Rancho Cañada project before two Supervisors leave office.  The project has been in the works for 12 years and narrowly passed the Planning Commission. (12.08.16)
  • Comments on Project Outline Concerns (page 18)
    Residents comment on the Rancho Cañada project where 130 lots are proposed for construction.  Local groups believe environmental laws have not been satisfied.  (11.11.16)
  • Committee Agrees Ranch Cañada Needs Affordable Units
    The County’s Housing Advisory Committee agrees with staff that the 130 lot Rancho Cañada project must include 26 very low-income, low-income and moderate-income affordable to meet the County’s affordable housing requirements. After the Planning Commission’s review of the project it goes before the Board of Supervisors. (11.10.16)
  • Kick Off of Ranch Cañada Project Review
    Planners for the County consider the next three months the public review period for the Ranch Cañada project. It is expected to go before the County Planning Commission on October 26th.  Key issues seem to be density and on-site affordable housing. (09.14.16)
  • New Plan Includes Affordable Units (page 9A)
    Comments are due on the Rancho Canada Village Recirculated Environmental Impact Report on July 22.  This proposal has 130 unbuilt lots — and dedicates 25 of those lots to affordable housing. (06.10.16)
  • Rancho Cañada Afforable Housing Debated
    The original project included 281 units (with half of them affordable).  Now, the proposal is for 130 units (with 25 affordable). The Monterey County General Plan requires this site be 50% affordable housing.  The Land Use Advisory Committee declined to provide a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on this project due to the conflicting affordable housing unit requirements. (02.03.16)
  • Rancho Cañada Approach Changes
    It appears the developer may be trying to sell lots instead of homes based on this recent article (page 8). A local watchdog group will be reviewing this new proposal. (01.29.16)
  • Rancho Cañada Project Scaled Down
    After a seven year hiatus the developer for the Rancho Cañada project has offered a scaled back version of the project.  This new alternative includes: 130 lot subdivision on 81 acres.  This new project cuts the project down considerably from its original 281 unit proposal. (10.08.15)
  • New Environmental Doc to be Released on Rancho Cañada
    A new environmental impact report will be released on the proposed Rancho Cañada project in the coming months.  The developer relays that they have listened to the community and significantly scaled back the project.  (10.08.15)

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