Planning board's McCarty seeks preservation of open space

Editors note: This is the second in a series profiling Carmel Valley Planning Board members.

For Jill McCarty, joining the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board was a natural choice. She said she's civic-minded; she likes to be involved in the community and is happy to help as much as she can.

McCarty is a business representative on the board for her Happy Valley Nursery, the ranch operated on her property that sells her chickens' "delicious" eggs. She and her husband Kent also own A1 Fire Protection, installing automatic fire protection systems in homes and businesses.

Neighbor Anne Harvey, a member of the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board, said that McCarty was the first in their Arroyo Sorrento neighborhood to call out property owners and developers to preserve the rural road, agricultural zoning and the natural landscape of the area.

"Jill is absolute bedrock where home and hearth and family are concerned," said Harvey.

An eye on development

A Virginia native, McCarty has lived at her home on a hill off Arroyo Sorrento Road since 1986. She had a bird's eye view of Carmel Valley growing up around her. An avid horse rider (she owns five on her ranch), she recalls when there was plenty of room to ride in miles of open space, there was even a hitching post at the neighborhood coffee shop.

McCarty's been mostly pleased by the way Carmel Valley has sprung up, but to keep it that way, she wanted to join the board.

"I want to hold developers to their word," McCarty said. "On the board, you get a chance to peek at everything they have and keep hammering on them so they get it right."

McCarty sees everything that comes before the board as important - recently McCarty took a senior center developer to task for not having enough disabled parking spaces.

She also has a soft spot for children. She especially loves when they are able to get involved in the community process the way Eagle Scouts work to enhance their neighborhood and how local skaters were involved in creating the incoming Carmel Valley Skatepark.

"Children are a gift to the world and we need to make sure there's plenty for them to do," McCarty said.

Easy rider

McCarty is still able to go horseback riding every chance she gets - her favorite ride is heading off her property to Carmel Mountain and down into the Carmel Valley Resource Enhancement Project, the open space alongside Highway 56. She circles back home through the sandstone bluffs, 33-acres given to the city by American Assets. The hour and a half ride is what she calls "perfect."

As a rider, she holds an interest in the city's developing plans on the Del Mar Mesa trails and preservation of biological space.

McCarty said she was happy to hear from mountain bikers at a recent meeting that they intended to be stewards of the land. That's important, McCarty said, because if users can't act responsibly it could be closed to all. When the land has been so carefully preserved, she said it would be sad if no one were able to enjoy it.

   
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