Cavallo Farms redesign OK’d


The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board approved a Cavallo Farms redesign submittal in a 7-5 vote at last week’s meeting.

Last March, the board agreed to a compromise on the horse ranch project on 20.5 acres off Old El Camino Real and told the company to redesign and resubmit the proposal.

Attorney Marty Bohl said his clients followed the planning board’s recommendations, which included relocating an office building off the eastern knoll of the property and designing a buffer between equestrian uses and structures and Gonzales Creek.

But issues still remain with the city planning department over how much of a buffer needs to be provided. The developers’ buffer is between 20 and 30 feet but the city would prefer a total buffer of 120 feet on both sides of the creek.

Caren Kelley, a Cavallo representative, said she feels they have made enough of a buffer and that the city’s requests have become too much.

“They keep taking more and it’s really going to be a useless property,” Kelley said. “I really do respect that people fight for open space, but I don’t know what else we can do.”

Board member Christian Clews agreed, saying the city knows nothing about designing a horse ranch and that the land in question has no value left, as it has already been used as a ranch for years.

Board Chairman Frisco White voted against the project because of the outstanding issues with the city. Other board members expressed concern about the project, as three-quarters of the site is located in the Multiple Habitat Planning Area.

The MHPA is the city’s planned habitat preserve within the Multiple Species Conservation Program. The program exists to preserve a network of habitat and open space protecting bio-diversity and enhancing the region’s quality of life by targeting areas of land for conservation.

The Cavallo Farms project is a redevelopment of an existing horse ranch, formerly known as Far West Farms. Far West Farms was developed on the site prior to the land being designated a MHPA.

Equestrian use was allowed to continue within the MHPA because the previous horse ranch was not permanent. All of the structures were moveable. The new horse facility, however, will involve permanent buildings and new construction.

The plan includes a two-story office building, a 16,150-square-foot parking lot and updated equestrian facilities, such as four new hay barns, new horse pens and corrals. A 20-foot wide paved road will also replace the existing dirt road.

The plan calls for 7.7 acres of open space.