Ferrini Ranch

This 870 acre project site spans two areas south of State Route 68 between River Road and Toro Park and between San Benancio Road and Toro Park. The project proposes 185 residential lots including 168 market-rate lots, 23 clustered lots for workforce housing units & 17 lots for Inclusionary housing units; and a 12 acre parcel for a visitor center.

LandWatch Position: Litigated the Project
Project Status: Land Conserved

Quick Facts

  • The project applicant is Domain Corporation.
  • The project proposal includes the subdivision of the site for 212 residential lots, a 35 acre winery, and a private road through Toro Park.
  • The project is governed by the policies of the 1982 Monterey County General Plan.
  • The County of Monterey is the lead agency.

Project Status

  • Ag Land Trust strikes deal with Ferrini Ranch developer to conserve the property.
  • The Appellate Court ruled in favor of the applicant and the County on July 26, 2019. View the Court Decision. (333K PDF)
  • LandWatch Appeals Ferrini Ranch Decision (505K PDF)
    After weighing its options, LandWatch and its legal counsel, decide to appeal the Superior Court decision on Ferrini Ranch. (11.07.17)
  • Superior Court Judge Wills ruled in favor of developers and against LandWatch, and upheld Monterey County’s approval of the disastrous Ferrini Ranch subdivision. Download the decision (1.8M PDF).
  • LandWatch filed a lawsuit against the County of Monterey for its approval of Ferrini Ranch on January 16, 2015.
  • The County of Monterey filed the Notice of Determination (164K PDF) for the project after its approval on December 18, 2014.
  • The Monterey County Board of Supervisors (295K PDF) has a second reading for the approval of the Ferrini Ranch project. View the draft Resolutions for approval (389K PDF) for the December 16, 2014 meeting.
  • The Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved the Ferrini Ranch project with a 3-2 vote on December 9, 2014.
  • The Monterey County Board of Supervisors (241K PDF) guided by the County’s Staff Report (489K PDF) will meet to discuss the Ferrini Ranch project on December 2, 2014.
  • The Monterey County Planning Commission recommended approval of the Ferrini Ranch project with a 5-4 vote in November 2014. The Board of Supervisors is set to hear the project December 2.
  • The Monterey County Planning Commission (agenda) guided by the County’s Staff Report (8.5 MB PDF) will meet to discuss the Ferrini Ranch project on October 29, 2014.
  • The Toro Land Use Advisory Committee (agenda) will meet to discuss the Ferrini Ranch project on October 27, 2014.
  • The Planning Commission Staff Report (9.2M PDF) solicits community feedback at the October 8, 2014 Commission hearing.
  • The Final Environmental Impact Report was released in October 2014.
  • The County Board of Supervisors is expected to decide this project in 2014.
  • The Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report was released in June 2014. (48.7 MB PDF) The topics that received additional review are: air quality impacts; biological resource impacts; greenhouse gas emissions; and the project alternatives.
  • The Draft Environmental Impact Report was completed in August 2012. (54.2M PDF)
  • The Notice of Preparation was circulated for 30 days in October 2005.
  • The project application was deemed complete in April 2005.

Project Location Map

The proposed Ferrini Ranch project is
southwest of Salinas along Highway 68.

Full Map.
Credit: County of Monterey, Ferrini Ranch Draft Environmental Impact Report (August 2012) (152K PDF)

The western portion of the proposed Ferrini
Ranch project includes residential units.

Full Map.

Credit: County of Monterey, Ferrini Ranch Draft Environmental Impact Report (August 2012) (1.7M PDF)

The eastern portion of the proposed Ferrini Ranch
project includes the winery and associated buildings.

Full Map.
Credit: County of Monterey, Ferrini Ranch Draft Environmental Impact Report (August 2012) (1.3M PDF)

The Alternative Site Plan for the
Ferrini Ranch development.

Full Map.
Credit: Administrative Record (356K PDF)

The proposed winery in relation to Highway 68
with the remainder of the development and Harper
Canyon development in the background.

The proposed residential development with Harper
Canyon’s project location behind Ferrini Ranch.

Resources at Risk

  • Viewshed
    Many of the proposed parcels are in the critical viewshed. The Toro Area Plan requires building sites to be outside the critical viewshed, but the DEIR appears to permit them as they are not visible from scenic roadways.
  • Traffic
    The DEIR assumes that a number of roadway improvements will be in place by the time the project is built, but fails to demonstrate that they are actually adopted and funded projects. Under California law payment of impact fees is adequate mitigation only if the fees go toward necessary improvements that are actually part of an adopted, funded impact fee program.
  • Biological Resources
    There are numerous concerns as it relates to biological resources including: impacts to species and habitats, avoidance feasibility, loss of grassland habitat and oak woodlands, and impacts to wildlife corridors.
  • Water
    The project proposes to use water from the already overburdened Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin.

LandWatch Involvement

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

Visual Aids & Graphics

  • Graphics Released on Development Plans
    LandWatch has created images that represent aerial views of the property, using Google Earth, showing Ferrini Ranch’s relationship to existing communities, roads, parks, and the general area. The red lines represent the development lots within the project boundary and the green area is Toro County Park. (11.20.12)
  • Ferrini Ranch Presentation Videos
    LandWatch has released two videos to increase awareness on the Ferrini Ranch development and ensure the project is stopped. The first video is a presentation by Amy White, Executive Director of LandWatch Monterey County on the development. The second video shows an aerial view of the development plans, which are adjacent to Toro Regional Park and Highway 68. (11.07.12)

Project History

  • Conservation Deal Reached on Ferrini Ranch
    Through a $10 million agricultural easement, the Ferrini Ranch property is now conserved—thanks to the developer’s decision and the offer by the Ag Land Trust. The Strategic Growth Council approved the conservation financing. (12.23.19)
  • Development Rights Purchased, Ferrini Ranch Protected
    In an unexpected turn of events, the Ag Land Trust purchased the development rights to Ferrini Ranch and the residential and winery project will no longer be viable. LandWatch’s Michael DeLapa relayed his amazement at the transaction. (12.10.19)
  • Lawsuit Appeal Decided on Ferrini Ranch
    LandWatch appealed the lower courts ruling on Ferrini Ranch. The Appellate Court has ruled in favor of the developer and County on the project.  The developers state that there are no immediate plans to begin the project. (08.30.19)
  • LandWatch Appeals Lower Court Decision
    Three years after its original approval the Ferrini Ranch project is headed back to court because LandWatch has filed an appeal of the decision. With this decision the group also launched a major fundraising campaign to raise the needed dollars for this round of litigation. (11.08.17)
  • Judge Rules in Developer’s Favor
    Judge Willis disagreed with the objections by LandWatch and the Highway 68 Coalition on the Ferrini Ranch project.  His August 3rd ruling allows the development to move forward—unless an appeal is made. (08.23.17)
  • Ferrini Ranch Project Okayed by Court
    In early August, Judge Willis outlined his reasoning for retaining the approvals for the Ferrini Ranch project in a 143 page decision.  LandWatch’s key concerns in the lawsuit included traffic, water supply, and aesthetics. (08.17.17)
  • Wastewater Study Overturned by Supervisors
    Supervisor Lou Calcagno’s hand-picked successor overturned Calcagno’s requirement to have a wastewater feasibility study conducted for the Ferrini Ranch project. This condition was a way to get Calcagno’s vote for the project in December 2014. The developer even agreed to do it prior to the project’s approvals. Some argue this move undermines efforts to get control of the sewer system issues in the Toro area. (01.26.16)
  • Ferrini Ranch Lawsuit Update
    LandWatch’s attorney’s filed the brief for the Ferrini Ranch lawsuit on September 24.  The County and developer filed their briefs in mid-January.  Our reply brief is due in March and we anticipate a hearing in April or May with a decision in June or July.  Thank you to all of our friends who rallied support for this legal challenge. (01.25.16)
  • Two Lawsuits Left on Ferrini Ranch
    Of the three filed lawsuits on Ferrini Ranch, one entity has settled: the California Utilities Service. The Service asked that the County “Drop the community services district requirement from the long list of conditions.” This goes before the Board of Supervisors on November 18th. (11.13.15)
  • KSBW Highlights LandWatch Lawsuit
    Did you see the interview with LandWatch on KSBW? If not, check it out. During the interview, Executive Director Amy White outlines the infrastructure issues and lack of water supply for the Ferrini Ranch project. LandWatch’s petition contends the County violated its own General Plan. (01.16.15)
  • Second Ferrini Suit Pounds Monterey
    And yet another article on the lawsuits filed over the Ferrini Ranch development approval. In this article, the Californian outilnes that if a judge upholds the lawsuits this could bring the project to a grinding halt. Best case scenario would be that it has be reconsidered under the 2010 General Plan, not the 1982 General Plan. (01.16.15)
  • Highway 68 Coalition Sues
    Concerned over the use of the 1982 General Plan in the review of the Ferrini Ranch project, the Highway 68 Coalition filed a lawsuit on the approval of the project. Of concern as well, is what the Coalition calls a flawed environmental impact report. (01.15.15)
  • Lawsuit Targets Ferrini Ranch
    The Highway 68 Coalition filed a lawsuit over the environmental impact report used to approve the Ferrini Ranch project. Concerns raised include traffic, water and the use of a 1982 General Plan. (01.15.15)
  • Ferrini Ranch, CEQA, and the denial of reality
    LandWatch pens this OpEd outlining significant concerns with the County’s approval of the Ferrini Ranch project. Not only did the county not follow its own General Plan, but it also failed to comply with state environmental laws as well. LandWatch filed a lawsuit on the project approvals. (01.04.17)
  • Ferrini Ranch Stirs Debate
    Though Ferrini Ranch was approved by the County Board of Supervisors, it still has numerous impacts and community concerns. These concerns range from aesthetics to rural sprawl, water supply to traffic. LandWatch may be considering a lawsuit. (12.26.14)
  • Ferrini Ranch Approved, With Sewer Condition
    The Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (PCA) got the attention of Supervisor Calcagno before the approval of the 185 unit Ferrini Ranch project. It seems waste water treatment is a much needed solution to the overdraft of the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin. There are several hurdles that need to be overcome to have the project hook up to the system and to fund it. (12.18.14)
  • Possible Decision on Ferrini
    The Monterey County Board of Supervisors (252K PDF) guided by the County’s Staff Report (272K PDF) will meet to discuss the Ferrini Ranch project on December 9, 2014. It is anticipated a decision will be made at this meeting.
  • County to Review Ferrini Ranch
    It is four decades in the making. Even the developer says the current iteration has been on the books for 10 years. Tuesday, December 2nd, the Board of Supervisors vote to determine if the Ferrini Ranch Environmental Impact Report is adequate or not. (11.28.14)
  • Guest Commentary Pounds Ferrini Ranch
    Tom and Becky Jones outlined their concerns about the Ferrini Ranch project in a Guest Commentary. These included: traffic, new street entries, signals, water use, noise and light pollution, loss of visual character and much more. (11.21.14)
  • Two Projects Go to Supervisors in December
    Both the Ferrini Ranch and Encina Hills (Harper Canyon) projects go before the Board of Supervisors on December 2nd. Both projects have water supply issues but have received different considerations by the Planning Commission. Ferrini Ranch was recommended for approval, while Harper Canyon was not. (11.16.14)
  • Guest Commentary on Ferrini Ranch
    As a guest commentary, Michelle Hill, writes about her concerns on Ferrini Ranch. From pushing school and commuter traffic into the Toro Park Estates neighborhood to converting the scenic Highway 68 to a multi-lane freeway—her concerns are real and get to the heart of this project. (11.14.14)
  • Controversial Ferrini Ranch Project Moves Forward
    LandWatch outlined its concerns on the project, including the hydrology study being inadequate. The Monterey County Planning Commission voted to recommend the project for approval. The Board of Supervisors will take the item up in December. (11.12.14)
  • Ferrini Ranch Scales Down Project
    The Monterey County Planning Commission will decide to approve or deny a scaled down version of the Ferrini Ranch project along Highway 68. The idea is to remove 27 units from the plan bringing it to 185 units. The Board of Supervisors will hear the project next. (11.12.14)
  • Ferrini Ranch Tour for Planning Commission
    A few dozen people attended the Ferrini Ranch public tour yesterday. Concerns were raised about the biological impacts, water supply and the project footprint. This three hour tour prepared Commissioners for the October 8th public hearing. (09.24.14)
  • Ferrini Ranch DEIR Comments Due November 16th
    Public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) are due by 5 PM on Friday, November 16, 2012 to the County on the Ferrini Ranch project. The proposed development includes 212 residential lots, a 35 acre winery, four private roadway parcels and the removal of 921 protected oak trees. (11.08.12)
  • Ferrini Ranch DEIR Released
    Developers have submitted an application to the County to subdivide and develop 870 acres in the Toro Area Plan of Monterey. Comments on the draft environmental documents are due to the County by October 22nd. (09.13.12)
  • Ferrini Ranch Subdivision and Merrill / Wayland Subdivision are two new proposals located in the Toro Area
    Despite the new general plan that was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in October 2010, many projects are being considered using the 1982 General Plan including the Ferrini Ranch subdivision and the Merrill / Wayland subdivision. LandWatch successfully negotiated restrictions on further subdivision in the Toro area in the new 2010 General Plan, but these two subdivisions get a “pass” from those restrictions. (05.31.11)

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