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Pebble Beach Plan OKd

Special to The Times

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an ambitious development plan for Pebble Beach that includes carving a new golf course out of the environmentally sensitive Del Monte Forest while preserving hundreds of other acres of forestland.

Proposed by the Pebble Beach Co., whose principal owners include Clint Eastwood, the project faced strong resistance from environmental groups opposed to cutting down 17,000 Monterey pine trees for the new golf course. But a number of area residents came to the company’s defense, saying the plan represented a reasonable balance between new construction and conservation.

Eastwood had considered attending the meeting, but his star power proved unnecessary, said Alan Williams, president of Carmel Development Co. and manager of the project for Pebble Beach Co.

“The project stands on its own merit,” Williams said. “It doesn’t need his coattails. It’s one of the reasons he wasn’t here.”

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The project still must pass the California Coastal Commission, whose staff has already raised objections. The commission staff sent a letter to the supervisors two weeks ago urging that they delay action until after coastal commissioners decide whether the project should go forward. Coastal Commission action may not come for several months.

The project includes adding 160 rooms -- most of them near two existing Pebble Beach hotels owned by the company -- plus 60 employee housing units, 33 new home lots, the new golf course on 100 heavily forested acres, a new driving range and the relocation of an equestrian center.

All of the construction would be near the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links, another of the Pebble Beach Co.'s properties, in the Del Monte Forest, a unique ecosystem that includes the world’s largest natural grove of Monterey pines.

The plan closely follows Measure A, a ballot item sponsored by the company and passed by voters in 2000 that promised to preserve more than 800 acres of open space. That voter endorsement continued to hold sway with supervisors, several of whom said during Tuesday’s board meeting that the development plan simply carries out the designs of Measure A.

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But opponents suggested that voters were misled into approving Measure A by being told that the plan was less intrusive that it was. “It’s a slow-motion ecological train wreck,” said David Dillworth, executive director of Helping Our Peninsula’s Environment.


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