Areas of Concern

Read the Amended Carmel Valley Master Plan

Map of Master Plan Area

Carmel Valley Village Development Criteria

Read Our Legal Settlement with the County

Read Citygate's Report on the Monterey County Resource Management Agency
and its Recommendations for Change

CVA Summary of Citygate Report on Monterey County Resource Management Agency


Final Approval of County Housing Plan
by the Board of Supervisors.
Next Stop, the State!

ON June 11th, the Board of Supervisors approved the county plan to increase affordable housing and forwarded it to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for final review.

To recap:

The originally proposed number of 10,000 units was reduced to less than 5,000 county wide. Some sites were eliminated, others modified, and new ones added. Each was thoughtfully discussed. For the location of the sites in the Carmel Valley please refer to the County's Map

Approved Opportunity Sites include Sites 24, 25. 26, 30, 40, 44, 45 and 47. Sites 23, 27, 28 and 29 will be included under the Builder's Remedy Application option, which allows expedited approval. Previously proposed sites 46, 48, and 49, all located on the hillsides across from the Middle School were eliminated. The board asked staff to consider the following sites which were recommended by an audience member: 3785 Via Nona Marie, 10 Flight Rd. and 9560 Center Street.

Good work, Planners and Supervisors, and hopefully, the state will agree!

Here are the proposed sites in Carmel Valley:

Results of Our Spring 2017 Survey of Valley Residents' Concerns:

Numerical Results

Written Responses

Short Term ("Vacation") Rentals

The Planning Commission Forwards
the Draft Vacation Rental Ordinances
to the Board of Supervisors for Final Approval

On June 12, the Planning Commission completed its review of the draft ordinance and forwarded it to the Board of Supervisors. Hopefully, the supervisors will approve it when they meet on August 29th. Of importance to Carmel Valley residents is that the proposed ordinance prohibits "commercial" vacation rentals (that is, short-term rentals not managed by a resident) from residentially zoned areas in the Carmel Valley Master Plan area.

Thank you to all our members and fellow concerned citizens of the Carmel and Big Sur Land Use areas for comments and letters provided to the Planning Commission at to the May 29th hearing.

HERE'S A LINK to the Revised Project Description which shows where changes were made and provides a current description of what the ordinances will do.

All of the FEIR and the Revised Project Description and Revised Ordinances can be found AT THIS LINK under Environmental Documents:

Maps of CV STRS January 2024

Route 1 to Earthbound Farms

Earthbound Farms To CV Ranch

CV Ranch to Village

CV Village

If you would like more detailed
information about STRs
on your street,
email your address to



Draft Environmental Impact Report and Proposed Orinance

CVA Comments on Proposed Ordinance

CVA Comments on the Draft Environment Impact Report

Monterey County Civil Grand Jury Report on Short-Term Rentals

Monterey County Supervisors Approve Revised Plan for Rancho Cañada Village
How we got here:

In 2016, developer Alan Williams submitted and had approved by the Board of Supervisors a proposal for a 130-unit development on the former Rancho Cañada golf course. CVA challenged the decision in Superior Court based on faults in the Environment Impact Report, the failure of the County to properly follow the requirements of the Carmel Valley Revised General Plan, and the fact that the proposed 20% affordable housing did not meet county requirements. CVA’s suit was successful, and we entered into negotiations with the developer with what we felt were positive results. However, this spring the Court of Appeals overturned the decision of the lower court, and the developer was free to proceed with his original plan.

We were pleased that Mr. Williams agreed to bring a revised plan, which incorporated many of the elements CVA had negotiated, back to the Planning Commission, which approved it on June 9th. It will next go to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

The following is from our June 9, 2021 letter to the Planning Commission:

Rancho Canada is authorized to build RCV with 130 units including 25 affordable housing units. However, in Alternative 6B the applicant has proposed a project with 145 units by increasing the Affordable Housing to 40 units (28%). He also will provide a 5-acre parcel zoned for Affordable Housing, with utilities and roadway brought to the site, construct 4 multi-unit buildings with a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms, and rent the apartments to local employees at moderate (28 units) and workforce (12 units) income levels.  The Project has improved considerably since first presented. CVA supports the Rancho Canada Project as presented on June 9, 2021 to the Planning Commission, CVA believing that this is in the best interests of the Carmel Valley and its residents for the following reasons:

  • The Carmel Valley Association has been in discussions with the applicant since January 2021. As a result of those discussions, CVA believes that the Project Alternative 6B will be a good project.
  • The 40 units of affordable housing are designed to meet the housing needs of employees that already work in the Carmel Valley.
  • The Project Alternative 6b achieves 28% affordable housing. While the project does not target the lower income categories, it does provide needed rental housing for local workers at the moderate and work force levels of affordability. 
  • The Project layout and design will produce a well-integrated affordable housing project that could set a high standard for design, integration and energy efficiency. 
  • CVA has established a positive relationship with the applicant for Rancho Canada Village.  We will continue to be involved as the project moves along to ensure that all the conditions are met.
  • The mitigation, design and infrastructure for flood control will improve the hazards of flooding and bring relief to the residents and businesses in the immediate area along Rio Road. 
  • Construction of Affordable housing will start within a year of completion of the infrastructure, ensuring that it has the same early priority as the rest of the project. While the timeline is that it will be ready for occupancy in five years, CVA is hopeful that the applicant will complete this with in a shorter timeline because of the demand for affordable housing.
The Carmel Valley Association appreciates your consideration of these comments.


Priscilla Walton, President, Carmel Valley Association


Prepared by Janet Brennan, Environmental Planning Consultant:

Environmental review is integral to the land use decision-making process. Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) are required when a project has the potential of having a significant impact on the environment and mitigation measures are not readily available so that a Mitigated Negative Declaration can be prepared. Many sections of an EIR require technical expertise to evaluate such as traffic, air quality and biological resource impacts.

However, there are many sections of an EIR that non-experts can address.

Read Janet Brennan's Guide to Making EIR Comments

Janet Brennan is Chair of the Carmel Valley Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC),
LandWatch board member, and CVA advisor.


A Primer on Carmel Valley Road Traffic Assessment with
Comments on Monterey County’s Traffic Evaluation on Highway One
by CVA Traffic Expert Dr. Tim Sanders

Carmel Valley Road, like other roads, is divided into segments, usually just a few miles long, for measurement purposes.

Link to a Map of Our Road's Segments

Direct measurement of traffic volume consists of counting of vehicles traveling past a specified point on a road segment during a fixed period of time. The actual counts typically are recorded every fifteen minutes for several days (e.g., a week), on an automatic device. Each day’s record is made available in a readable format for analysis. Thus the fundamental measurement unit is vehicles per quarter-hour, but this is converted to vehicles per hour or vehicles per day for purposes of analysis and assessment.

Carmel Valley Road has both two-lane and four-lane segments, but because the four-lane traffic capacities considerably exceed the existing traffic volumes, attention is focused on the two-lane segments. in the Carmel Valley Master Plan area there are seven two-lane segments  of Carmel Valley Road (identified as segments 1-7), all lying between the eastern edge of Carmel Valley Village and Via Petra (just west of Rancho San Carlos Road).

In addition the segment of Highway 1 between Carmel Valley Road is critical to understanding Carmel Valley Road traffic because (1) the west-bound lanes of Carmel Valley Road are contiguous with the northbound Highway 1 lanes, there being no exit or entrance to those lanes at their intersection, and (2) southbound Highway 1 consists of a single lane that is highly congested during peak traffic times, and 2/3 of its traffic enters Carmel Valley Road so that most traffic entering Carmel Valley Road must pass through that excessively congested lane, on which traffic volume exceeds the lane’s capacity.

Two separate criteria are used to evaluate traffic service quality on two-lane roadways like most of Carmel Valley Road. Both criteria depend on traffic counts as raw data.

“Average daily trips” is simply the total volume of vehicle flow in 24 hours -- the number of vehicles per day. Each two-lane segment of Carmel Valley Road is assigned a “threshold”, or acceptable level of traffic volume, by the County.

“Percent time spend following” (defined as the proportion of time during which the separation between vehicles is less than three seconds, when measured at a point along the road and at a time of peak traffic) is not really measureable in practice. In place of actual observation of the relevant percentage of time, a mathematical model (known as an exponential probability distribution) is used as a surrogate. During an hour when traffic is at its peak, the numbers of vehicles passing in each direction are observed, and the numbers are converted, through a complicated formula, into a number between zero and 100 that is presumed to represent the probability (in %) that an arbitrary vehicle would pass a fixed location less than 3 seconds after the vehicle preceding it. Thus the traffic measurement is of vehicles passing per hour, but the numerical assessment is a percentage; the formula represents the growth of traffic intensity as decreasing when the actual volume of traffic increases.

Assessment of the critical segment of Highway 1 between Ocean Avenue and Carmel Valley Road normally has been achieved through application of PTSF (described above) to the congested single southbound lane. However, a method called “multimode level of service”, or MMLOS, has recently, and totally inappropriately, used by the County to evaluate Highway 1 traffic for projects in the Carmel Valley Master Plan Area. This method does not even consider traffic volume measurements to evaluate traffic levels; instead it uses two roadway characteristics, the number of enforced stops per mile and the proportion of left-turn pockets as traffic criteria. Thus the County’s assessments are completely independent of the numbers of vehicles using the road! Furthermore, Highway 1 does not meet the basic requirements for applying the method! Use of MMLOS on Highway 1 is entirely fraudulent. Nevertheless, the County has used this inapplicable scheme in project EIRs (the current Rancho Canada Village [project approved but in litigation initiated by CVA] and Val Verde Rd. projects), despite CVA’s explicit and adamant objections.

Time periods for analysis: ADT – 24 hours; PTSF and MMLOS – 1 hour during peak traffic.

County traffic impact criteria are applied in two ways simultaneously on two-lane Carmel Valley Road. The term “threshold” can be used in both.

For the older ADT method, “threshold” refers to a specific volume (count) of vehicle trips per day, different for each road segment, published first for the Carmel Valley Master Plan (CVMP) in about 1991.


For PTSF, which appears for the first time in the 2010 CVMP, the numbers of vehicle trips per hour at peak traffic times are, as indicated above, converted to percentages (PTSF values), and then the resulting percentage is assigned a letter grade (A-F, as in school grades) called “level of service” or LOS, with the boundary between D and E (i.e., at PTSF = 85%) being the “threshold” of environmental significance. In Carmel Valley, both ADT and PTSF thresholds must be respected (with ADT below the CVMP specification, and PTSF below LOS E), with failure to fall below threshold resulting in a public hearing before the Board of Supervisors.

LOS grades also are used in MMLOS assessments, but this is actually irrelevant; as indicated above, the use of MMLOS on Highway 1 is fraudulent. (This is readily demonstrable, and is discussed and explained in considerable detail in CVA comments to the County on the Rancho Canada and Via Verde EIRs.) The County has given, to the segment of Highway 1 most relevant to Carmel Valley concerns, an outrageous and indefensible LOS grade of “LOS C”, based on its MMLOS “analysis”. Among other things, the MMLOS “analysis” depends only on a pair of the roadway’s design characteristics, and not at all on the volume of traffic!  All other assessments of that segment for many years have been LOS F, i.e., traffic exceeds the capacity of the road segment. The pre-MMLOS evaluations have been based on PTSF analyses of the single southbound lane.

LOS F means traffic exceeds road capacity; not even one vehicle trip is to be added during peak hour.

Analysis of 2014 Monitoring and Report of Traffic on Carmel Valley Road

by CVA Traffic Chair
Dr. Tim Sanders:

The January 29, 2015 CVA Bulletin carried a statement that CVA had presented to the County Board of Supervisors in response to the 2014 annual County report on Carmel Valley Road (CVR). Some additional details might be useful to Traffic! Carmel Valley residents. Four of the five two-lane segments of CVR between Esquiline Road and Rancho San Carlos Road are near the traffic volume limits set for them in the Carmel Valley Master Plan (CVMP); for easy reference, the five are numbered

3.      Esquiline to Ford
4.      Ford to Laureles Grade
5.      Laureles Grade to Robinson Canyon
6.      Robinson Canyon to Schulte
7.      Schulte to Rancho San Carlos.

Segments 3, 4, 6 and 7 were the principal subject of the CVA statement.

These are the heart of Carmel Valley Road, and play a major role in the Master Plan and its history.

Roughly 35 years ago a number of foresighted and determined Valley residents (members of the original CVA), in order to protect the Valley’s rural character, composed a master plan covering the area from the eastern edge of the Village to Highway 1, ridge to ridge. With the aim of preventing suburban- and urban-style traffic congestion, the master plan created a process for establishing traffic standards on CVR. By 1991 a firm set of standards was in place, and the CVMP requirement that CVR traffic levels be monitored and reported annually was fully implemented. Last week’s Bulletin responded to the most recent of these County monitoring reports.

What we often want to know from the reports is, “How much more traffic can CVR tolerate until Environmental Impact Reports must show significant environmental impacts?” For a variety of reasons there is no simple and fixed answer, but we can make reasonable rough estimates based on existing policies and data. Our initial challenge is to insure that existing policies are interpreted fairly and are fully enforced, and that real data is respected. Toward that end we examine relevant parts of the 2014 report.

In the table that follows, the first three columns are the same as those in the previous CVA Weekly Bulletin, and the fourth column shows the number of vehicle trips per day that, if added, would cause the segment’s traffic to exceed its threshold of acceptability or of significant environmental impact. The final two columns show the relevant thresholds themselves as published in the Carmel Valley Master Plan, and the measurements of 2014 daily traffic volumes. The first four rows represent data collected in June of 2014 on relevant CVR segments (3,4,6,7), and the final four rows are for October on the same segments; the only segments considered relevant are those that have a reasonable likelihood of undergoing significant environmental impacts from potential new development.

Segment Date Measured % of Threshold Trips/Day Below Threshold Threshold (trips/day) 2014 Volume (trips/day)
3 20-Jun 98.9 101 9,065  8,964
4 20-Jun 98.6 168 11,600 11,432
6 20-Jun 94.6 831 15,490 14,659
7 20-Jun 98.6 233 16,340 16,107
3 29-Oct 93.0 633 9,065  8,432
4 30-Oct 98.1 216 11,600 11,384
6 30-Oct 94.7 818 15,490 14,672
7 30-Oct 98.7 210 16,340 16,130

The boldface underlined numbers in the table are the smaller values of “trips below threshold” for each segment; these are the additional traffic volumes allowed before the impacts are considered environmentally significant. Thus segment 3 would tolerate 101 new trips per day, segment 4 would tolerate 168, 5 would tolerate 818, and 7 would tolerate 210.

Typically a residential unit adds about 10 trips per day, so dividing by 10 gives the approximate number of residential units contributing directly to each segment; therefore the tolerable number of new residential units contributing traffic would be about 10 for segment 3, about 17 for segment 4, about 82 for segment 6 and about 21 for segment 7.

Since any new units generating traffic on Carmel Valley Road would contribute their traffic to several segments, the smaller tolerances are the more relevant ones; a good guess probably is that roughly 20 new residential units, or the equivalent, would formally yield a permanent adverse environmental impact on the two-lane portion of Carmel Valley Road.

Another, more complex, type of measurement called “percent time spent following” (PTSF) also is monitored and reported. It shows that segments 6 and 7 already have significant adverse environmental impacts from traffic imposed earlier. The threshold of significance for these segments is a PTSF of 85.0 on a sale of 100, and segments 6 and 7 have PTSF values of 86.0 and 89.3 respectively. By this measure, there is no available tolerance for additional traffic volume on segments 6 and 7 according to the CVMP.

Carmel Valley residents must now decide how they will respond to these circumstances in order to sustain the rural character of Carmel Valley Road and of the Valley itself, and they must now make their determination known to County decision makers. The CVMP is not self-enforcing!

Land Use

3705 Rio Road:

The proposal by Foothill Partners to build a commercial retail development on approximately 3.8 acres of land located at 3705 Rio Road within the County of Monterey's Carmel Valley Master Plan Area has been withdrawn.

Our understanding is the the property, which is located in the 100 year flood plain, has been purchased by a local person with the intent of building condominiums or apartments. We'll keep you informed as we learn more.

September Ranch:
September Ranch

September Ranch, now renamed and advertised as ONE Carmel, is moving through Phase 1 of its development as a residential community.  According to the local manager, the project is close to clearing all of almost 200 conditions imposed by the County and has applied for a grading permit to start roadwork and prepare home sites for sale.

Phase 1 includes 33 residential lots and the construction of on-site affordable housing units, located on the eastern side of the ranch.  The plan is to sell lots to individual buyers for market rate homes.  The main entrance to the development will be directly across from Brookdale Drive, and Carmel Valley Road will be widened along the frontage of the ranch to add a middle turning lane like other segments of the road.

The red stakes that recently appeared in the ranch pasture are part of the grading plan.  On timing, the manager estimates that it will take about a year of work before any lots are ready for sale.  Funding for the project is from investors in DL Holdings Group Limited, a company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. 

Project Map as Currently Proposed

Palo Corona/Rancho Cañada Park Expansion:
Dogs & Camper

The acquisition of the former Rancho Cañada golf course for protection by the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District securess water for wildlife, helps prevent flooding, and provides new opportunities for recreation.

The land, which includes a mile of river frontage, absorbs water when the river runs high, protecting downstream neighborhoods from flooding. It is home to numerous threatened and endangered species, including steelhead, red-legged frogs, and tri-colored blackbirds. And it is part of a network of protected land stretching south 150 miles from Carmel to San Luis Obispo.

The Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District has moved its headquarters to the former golf course and oversees its restoration. A network of trails provides access to the river and connects to the parklands accross the river. The district and the local Santa Lucia Conservancy plan an outdoor classroom and environmental education programs for visitors and school groups.

Also important for the water-starved Monterey Peninsula, public ownership allows water formerly used for irrigation is returned to the river, protecting native steelhead by stabilizing flows downstream.

The existing clubhouse serves as Palo Corona’s and the district’s headquarters, provides offices for like-minded non-profits, space that can serve as an command center during fire and flood emergencies, banquet rooms to host events like weddings, and meeting space for our community’s civic organizations.

The Rancho Cañada Unit’s trails will connect with the existing Southbank Trail, may provide access to the Big Sur Land Trust’s Odello East (formerly Mr. Eastwood’s farm, immediately east of Highway 1), and Palo Corona’s units which the district calls the "Front Ranch" and “Back Country.”
The back country parcel appeared unchanged, with existing trials and some added camping opportunities. 

A Message from MPRPD General Manager, Rafael Payan, recieved February 22, 2018:

MPRPD recently received, signed, and submitted the financial grant-related agreements to the respective State agencies that generously awarded us funding for the acquisition of the Rancho Cañada property.

Each grant's purpose and intent includes: acquiring the Rancho Cañada property; substantially reclaiming, restoring and sustaining the site as native habitat; and providing compatible environmental education and passive recreation opportunities that minimize or eliminate potential negative impacts to the site's soils, plants, animals, and water features. A key goal with respect to this property's acquisition is to reintroduce common, threatened, and endangered native flora and fauna. 

Several uses that have been explored are unfortunately incompatible with the property's and grants' intended purposes. Activities that may inevitably or unavoidably result in the repeated trampling of restored habitat, and/or disturbance of extant and reintroduced native flora and fauna will not be allowed. To further this goal, MPRPD is carefully identifying trail corridors geared to keeping people on-trail.

Link to Maps of Proposals (revised to reflect changes):

Rancho Canada Clubhouse Area

Rancho Canada Unit

Front Country Unit

Back Country Unit

More information at

Partners on the project included the Santa Lucia Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. [From Trust for Public Land, photo by Carmel Realty]

Property Adjacent to Carmel Middle School
The vacant field on the west side of the middle school, previously proposed for affordable housing, has been purchased by the Carmel Unified School District. We understand that atheletic fields are proposed for the property.

There is a partially completed flood control trench on the east side of the property, which was intended to drain flood waters comming downfrom the Rio Vista into the river, preventing flooding of properties to the south of Carmel Valley Road. Flooding from Rio Vista in the mid '90s caused severe damage to properties along Rio Road, including the Crossroads and Mission Fields.