Carmel Valley planning board hears Grand Del Mar progress report on development violations


By Karen Billing

The Grand Del Mar Resort is now processing conditional use permits for all of its unauthorized developments, according to resort representatives.

Initial violations occurred 10 years ago in 2003 with the construction of unauthorized golf course tee boxes in sensitive habitat. Last year more land-use violations were uncovered, including unauthorized grading, unathorized equestrian stable and trails, parking lots, a nightclub that operated without an alcohol permit, and constructing a helicopter-landing pad that was in violation of state, city and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

A settlement with the city was reached in January that required the resort to come into compliance on all of its unapproved developments. The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board heard an update on that continuing process at its June 27 meeting.

According to Grand Del Mar consultant Perry Dealy, the helipad was taken out of the permit as the Grand Del Mar agreed not to continue on that issue.

“We’re working hard with development services to honor commitments made on the first violations and on mitigations for the other penalties,” Dealy said.

The resort also has to pay the city investigative costs of $12,456 and civil penalties of $75,000.

Additionally, the Carmel Valley and Del Mar Mesa communities are still owed a settlement agreement from the original golf course violations in 2003 — a $250,000 payment toward trail improvements and a perpetual easement for a public trail along the golf course.

John Eardensohn, of the planning and engineering firm Latitude 33, which is working with the Grand Del Mar, said they are in the cycle review process for the tees, picnic area, horse trails and barn, and a parking lot in an area of future development at the resort.

The development includes a townhome project of which eight have been built, 40 more are planned for the future.

Eardensohn said they hope to get through the review process by September and come back before both the Carmel Valley and Del Mar Mesa planning boards in October when environmental reports on issues such as erosion control are complete. They hope to have the final adoption of the amendments to their conditional use permits (CUP) from the city by November, according to Eardensohn. The new CUP will be the new baseline document for the project that they must adhere to, Eardensohn said.

“We’re just trying to resolve this by moving on and hopefully nothing else unpermitted occurs on the property,” said Eardensohn.

Eardensohn and Dealy said they take the violations extremely seriously and said resort owner Doug Manchester has been told of the serious legal consequences if anything else happens on his property without permits.

“This has not been taken lightly and not resolved through politics,” Dealy said.