Monterey Bay Shores Eco Resort

The Project includes 184 hotel rooms, 184 condominium units and extensive visitor facilities, including restaurants, spa, three swimming pools, and a conference center on 39 acres of coastal sand dunes in Sand City.

LandWatch Position: Submitted Comments on the EIR and to the Coastal Commission
Project Status: Tied Up in Foreclosure Litigation

Quick Facts

  • The project applicant is Security National Guaranty owned by Ed Ghandor.
  • The Project includes 184 hotel rooms, 184 condominium units and extensive visitor facilities, including restaurants, spa, three swimming pools, and a conference center on 39 acres of coastal sand dunes in Sand City.
  • Sand City is the lead agency.
  • The project site is governed by the 2002 Sand City General Plan and 1986 Local Coastal Plan.

Project Status

  • Coastal Commission Caves on Project
    The developer of the Monterey Bay Shores project was required to get the Habitat Protection Plan approved by the Commission’s Executive Director. Now the staff is issuing the Coastal Development Permit without the Plan’s review/approval. (07.08.14)
  • The public will want to monitor the developer’s revised Habitat Conservation Plan (expected in the next 30-90 days) to see if it adequately addresses the significant concerns raised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in their April 7th letter. (507K PDF)
  • The Coastal Commission staff recommended approval with conditions (147K PDF) in April 2014. The Commission revised and weakened many of conditions in response to the developer’s requested edits. The Commission added the one significant strengthening condition that required a revised Habitat Protection Plan for review and approval by the Executive Director.
  • In January 2009, Sand City approves the applicant’s EIR addendum.  In February, the MPWMD board denies the applicant’s water distribution permit and requires a subsequent environmental impact report on the water resort’s water supply.  In March, the Coastal Commission postpones its hearing on Monterey Bay Shores at the applicant’s request.  In December, the Coastal Commission denies permit to the resort.
  • An Addendum to the Final Environmental Impact Report (18.7M PDF) was circulated in October 2008.
  • In 2008, the applicant submits revised development plans for a 341-unit resort, to the Coastal Commission and Sand City.  In May, the Appellate Court overturns the Coastal Commission’s 2001 decision, ordering the commission to reconsider the applicant’s revised permit application.  In December, the applicant distributes a lengthy addendum to the 1998 EIR.
  • The Sierra Club withdraws its lawsuit against Sand City and the Final EIR is certified in 2002.
  • At the end of 2000, the Coastal Commission denies the applicant’s development permit.
  • In December 1998, Sand City approves the applicant’s coastal development permit for a 495-unit resort and certifies the EIR.  The Sierra Club appeals to the Coastal Commission.
  • In 1996, State and regional park agencies enter into an agreement with Sand City leaders, known as the “Coastal Peace Accord.”  The document sets most of Sand City’s 1.5 mile coastline as open space, except for two “building envelopes,” including the area owned by Security National Guaranty.
  • Zoning for the parcel for “visitor serving uses” was approved by the Coastal Commission in 1986.

Project Location Map

The proposed Monterey Bay Shores
project in the town of Sand City.

Full Size Map (53K PDF)
Credit: Sand City, Monterey Bay Shores Environmental Impact Report Addendum (October 2013)

The proposed Monterey Bay Shores includes a
hotel, condos and an extensive visitor services area.

Full Size Map (102K PDF)
Credit: Sand City, Monterey Bay Shores Environmental Impact Report Addendum (October 2013)

Resources at Risk

  • Loss of Habitat for Snowy Plover
    The Western Snowy Plover, a federally threatened species, is documented as using the site and adjacent beach and dunes for breeding, feeding, and raising its broods for at least the past 25 years. This development coupled with coastal erosion and sea level rise will reduce the Plover’s available habitat.
  • Use of an Outdated Local Coastal Plan
    The project was based on an outdated Local Coastal Plan (LCP) certified by the Coastal Commission in 1986, but never subject to any significant updates. The 1986 LCP failed to identify any significant environmentally sensitive habitat areas (ESHA).
  • Failed to Meet Obligations Under CEQA
    The Coastal Commission staff indicated that they reviewed the project impacts. However, the Coastal Act and CEQA obligates the Commission to do more than review the environmental analysis of a project before concluding “the proposed project will not result in any significant environmental effects for which feasible mitigation measures have not been employed consistent with CEQA Section 21080.5(d)(2)(A).” The “Commission is required, among other things, to disapprove a project if alternatives or feasible environmental mitigation measures are available.”

LandWatch Involvement

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

Project History

  • Eco-Resort Faces Another Lawsuit
    The Eco-Resort development gets hit with ANOTHER lawsuit. An investment company (read “project funder”) has filed a lis pendens. According to the article, “The purpose of a lis pendens is to provide constructive notice to a subsequent purchaser, claimant or encumbrancer that a legal action is pending that may affect title to or possession of the affected property.” (09.03.15)
  • Snowy Plover Habitat Shrinking
    Two developments along the Sand City shoreline are impacting critical habitat for the federally endangered snowy plover. Conservation organizations are claiming there isn’t enough protection of this important habitat. The nests and habitat are getting trampled by beach-goers… what would happen to the bird with additional beach goers in the mix? (05.11.15)
  • Settlement Reached in Eco-Resort
    Though there may be some other hurdles to clear as it relates to the actual development of the Monterey Bay Shores Eco-Resort… another hurdle, this one legal, was cleared Thursday. A settlement was officially reached before legal proceedings for a foreclosure moved forward. (02-19-15)
  • Eco-Resort Settlement
    It appears lenders have reached an agreement in settlement talks with the developer of the Monterey Bay Shores Eco-Resort. This agreement could stop the pending foreclosure of the property. The judge was to hear the case February 19th. (02.17.15)
  • Sand City Eco-Resort, Resolution on Foreclosure?
    Judge Matcham will hear the case January 27 after being delayed in December. A defaulted loan is in question on a 39 acre coastal property in Monterey County. A countersuit was filed by the developer against the lender. (12.19.14)
  • Sand City Continues to Face Challenges
    Troubles continue on the Sand City eco-resort. As you may recall the developer Ed Ghandour, according to his lender, has defaulted on a loan and filed a foreclosure notice. A counter suit followed by Ghandour. The judge presiding over the case will likely announce the decision on Wednesday. In the meantime, the developer has yet to meet critical plan elements for Coastal Commission approval. (11.21.14)
  • Sand City Eco-Resort: Trouble Continues
    The Monterey Bay Shores developer seems to be struggling with the project in Sand City. In addition to the Coastal Commission stating the developer hasn’t met the project’s conditions yet, the project’s lender claims the developer has defaulted on the loan. The developer, Ghandour, has now filed a counter suit and is demanding a jury trial in addition to $300 million in damages. (10.29.14)
  • Developer Balks at Coastal Commission Conditions
    Monterey Bay Shores developer SNG is trying to rewrite the Coastal Commission’s conditions of approval. For example, SNG is asking that the Coastal Commission Director simply review the new habitat plan, not review and approve. Meanwhile the US Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating claims that federally endangered birds were harmed prior to the Commission’s decision. (05.29.14)
  • Developer Told to Stop Construction Activity (193K PDF file)
    The California Coastal Commission was made aware of construction activities on the site for the proposed Monterey Bay Shores Eco-Resort. The Commission reiterated that the endangered snowy plover must be protected and the developer’s habitat protection plan must be in place prior to any work. The Commission also stated that all construction activity and equipment must be removed from the site until the proper documents are in place. (05.15.14)
  • Students Come to Snowy Plover’s Rescue
    Development plans for an Eco Resort proceed forward but fifth grade students show support for the property’s conservation because of an endangered bird. “What did the Snowy Plover ever do to deserve this?” asks one student. (05.22.14)
  • Blog Follow Eco Shores Project
    Follow Keith Vandevere’s Blog which outlines the project, conditions and conservation efforts. (05.05.14)

Monterey Peninsula
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