Carmel Valley planning board reviews Lighthouse Ridge development

At its Feb. 23 meeting, the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board heard public input from local residents about a new 10-home housing development in Carmel Valley. Called Lighthouse Ridge, the development is planned on a vacant lot at the end of Lighthouse Way in a neighborhood behind Congregation Beth Am — neighbors shared concerns about the impacts of building new homes on a “steep” slope above Chelterham Terrace.

According to Matt Semic of Latitude 33 Planning and Engineering, the developers could potentially break ground on the homes as soon as the end of the year. The project is in its second round of reviews with the city and developers hope to continue meeting with the neighbors and come back before the planning board in April for approval.

The existing owner took ownership a year ago – before that, the property was owned by a trust.

Residents said they anticipated homes being built on the western side of the lot, where it is more flat but the eastern side is a steep slope and they never guessed there could be houses there.

Semic said the county is unfortunately seeing more “pocket developments” like this one, wedging new homes into already developed neighborhoods. He said because big homebuilders can no longer build 200 to 300 homes at a time as there’s not hundreds of acres of land left, they must embark on what is considered a suburban infill development.

Neighbors on Chelterham Terrace below the proposed project said they are concerned about not only the massing of their homes but maintaining their privacy if the new homes will look down on their properties.

Semic said the view will be “pretty challenging” due to the grade difference and heavy tree coverage between the lots.

“Just as valuable as your privacy is, it’s just as valuable for the potential homebuyer,” Semic said.

Carmel Valley Planning Board Chair Frisco White made a request that the developers make an effort design-wise to respect the topography and not to use fill to make the pads any higher.

Residents also expressed concerns about the neighborhoods’ narrow streets and construction going on in their backyards for 18 months. White said the planning board can make construction conditions a part of the project approval.