Rancho San Juan Butterfly Village

The Butterfly Village project will include 1,147 homes, but will replace the proposed golf course with 342 acres of public parks and open space, increase the amount of affordable housing to 32 percent from 15 percent, double the amount of commercial space, and add a 10-acre elementary school site. After nearly 20 years of disagreement, community groups, the County and developer have found a win-win with the Butterfly Village proposal.

LandWatch Position: Opposes the Project
Project Status: Approved, Litigation Settled, Project Scope Reduced

Quick Facts

  • The project applicant is HYH Corporation.
  • The project settlement allows the development of 1,147 homes, an increased number of affordable houses, an elementary school and 342 acres of open space.
  • The County of Monterey is the lead agency.
  • The project is governed by the policies of the 1982 Monterey County General Plan and the Greater Area Salinas Plan.

Project Status

  • The Notice of Preparation meeting was held in January 2003. (25K PDF)
  • The project application was deemed complete in February 2003.
  • The Draft Environmental Impact Report was released in May 2004. (7.5M PDF).
  • The Final Environmental Impact Report was released in November 2004. (9.2M PDF)
  • The Final Environmental Impact Report included both an Addendum (520K PDF) and Errata. (16K PDF)
  • The County Board of Supervisors approved the project in November 2005.
  • Litigation ensued and the case was settled in April 2008.

This map shows the proposed annexation and sphere of influence amendment.

Full Size Image (144K PDF)

Credit: Aromas Water District, Initial Study (November 2011)

Resources at Risk

LandWatch Involvement

LandWatch litigated this project and the following documents are provided for background purposes:

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

  • Letter: Support for County Settlement With HYH Corp. on Butterfly Village Project
    Most recently, Monterey County and the HYH Corporation have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by HYH against the County, in which HYH claimed that the County had treated it unfairly with respect to its proposed “Butterfly Village” development project. This settlement is likely to conclude a 20-year dispute over development in this area of the unincorporated county just north of the city of Salinas. (04.14.08)
  • Report: The Board of Supervisors doesn’t pay attention to 75% of the voters in Monterey County!
    LandWatch and the Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition are referending the Revised Ranch San Juan project. We need to collect 9,000 signatures to put the project back on the ballot in June of 2006. You can help by signing the petitions that are now being circulated throughout the County at various shopping centers and other locations. (11.28.05)
  • Letter: Rancho San Juan Moratorium and Revised Specific Plan (94K PDF)
    On November 7th, less than 14 hours before the people vote on Measure C, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 with Dave Potter dissenting to approve the controversial Rancho San Juan Butterfly Village project.  Both Caltrans and the City of Salinas told the Board that their environmental documents were flawed.  The Board said that they must approve this specific plan or be liable for a substantial money judgment. (11.06.05)
  • Event: Rancho San Juan Demonstration
    The Board of Supervisors is going to act on Tuesday, and they may act to deprive the voters of their right to vote on Rancho San Juan in November. We need to tell the board that the citizens of Monterey County want to vote! (08.11.05)
  • Referendum: Rancho San Juan Referendum Set To Qualify
    The Rancho San Juan Opponents Collected 16,000+ Signatures! This should mean that the voters will get to decide. (01.18.05)
  • Referendum: The Rancho San Juan Referendum
    It will be hard to qualify a referendum for the ballot, but it can be done! Find out how you can help. (12.19.04)
  • Letter: Reasons To Vote Against Rancho San Juan (122K PDF)
    Here is the letter that LandWatch submitted to the Board of Supervisors on December 14th, urging the Board to deny the proposed Rancho San Juan development. Unfortunately, the Board voted 3-2 (with Supervisors Calcagno and Potter voting “no”) to approve the project. The LandWatch letter outlines some of the most important legal objections to the Board’s action. (12.15.04)
  • Testimony: Summary of Testimony & Presentations to the Supervisors
    See what comments were presented to the County Board of Supervisors about the Butterfly Village project, mainly focused on the project’s water impacts. (12.15.04)
  • Letter: Reasons for the Planning Commission to Deny the Project (119K PDF)
    This letter from LandWatch outlines some of the basic reasons that the County should turn down the Rancho San Juan Specific Plan and the Butterfly Village Subdivision. (12.12.04)
  • Letter: Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (553K PDF)
    In this comprehensive comment letter, LandWatch has outlined all of the major environmental issues related to the proposed Rancho San Juan Specific Plan. (11.26.04)
  • Letter: County Getting Ahead of Itself on “Butterfly Village” (94K PDF)
    Developments proposed in the Rancho San Juan Area are supposed to take place according to a “Specific Plan” that has not yet been adopted. Despite the fact that there’s no Specific Plan, Monterey County is already moving towards approval of a major development project, the so “called “Butterfly Village,” which consists mainly of luxury homes and a golf course. This LandWatch letter points out that the County is getting ahead of itself. (08.12.04)

Partner Involvement

Sometimes our partners engage as well and we capture their input into the process. For this project, below are the relevant items.

  • Letter: Coalition Outlines Project Impacts of MOU
    Rancho San Juan Opposition chairwoman, Julie Engell, wrote a detailed letter regarding the huge impacts Monterey County residents face by the ratification of the Memorandum of Understanding which occurred yesterday. All residents in the County will bear the burden. Even with 76% of the voters opposed to this massive and disastrous project the agreement was signed. (08.30.06)
  • Letter: Comments on the Revised Specific Plan and 1982 General Plan Inconsistencies (120K PDF)
    This October 17, 2005 letter to the County Planning Commission lays out the inconsistencies and inadequacies of the project’s environmental review. (10.17.05)
  • Commentary: Julie Engell Outlines The Issues
    Julie Engell is the Chairperson of the Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition, which is working with LandWatch to stop the ill-advised Rancho San Juan development proposal. (11.26.04)
  • Petition: Rancho San Juan “Just Say No”
    If you’d like to help fight Rancho San Juan, one thing you can do is to print out copies of the “Just Say No” petition, get your friends and family to sign, and return the signed copies as indicated on the petition form. (11.26.04)

Project History

  • Rancho San Juan Timeline
    View a timeline covering 1999 – 2007 to understand the 20 years of mismanagement by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. (09.10.07)
  • Greater Salinas Area MOU (2M PDF)
    The Greater Salinas Area Memorandum of Understand (MOU) is submitted to the Board of Supervisors and City Council for review, consideration and adoption. It establishes a broad policy framework to govern and facility land use decisions in the Greater Salinas Area. (08.29.06)
  • City of Salinas Vows to Fight Project
    The 4,000 unit Ranch San Juan project was not only opposed by residents but the City of Salinas as well.  The City vowed to fight the project if the County approved it along with a coalition of residents that oppose the project too. (04.01.04)

Monterey County
Issues & Actions