Thursday, November 17, 2011
A recently approved road through the former Fort Ord is moving to the courts. The Eastside Parkway would create a shortcut between General Jim Moore Boulevard and East Garrison, providing an artery for anticipated population growth that hasn’t yet materialized.
“The project would create a roadway that goes nowhere,” according to the complaint, filed Nov. 10 in Monterey County Superior Court by community group Keep Fort Ord Wild.
The Eastside Parkway, four lanes at its widest, would front the proposed veterans cemetery and Monterey Downs development, which includes an equestrian park, housing, Olympic-sized pool, hotel and retail center.
Keep Fort Ord Wild formed two months ago to represent bikers, hikers and photographers who want not only additional environmental review of the Eastside Parkway, but a broader reconsideration of Fort Ord redevelopment. “We’re just plunging forward with this ’90s-era permanent growth,” says group spokesman Michael Salerno. “We’ve gone way beyond the demand curve.”
The lawsuit alleges the Eastside Parkway would promote further growth, which would result in increased traffic. Developers of the Monterey Downs horse park, for example, want to build a sports arena able to accommodate events like car shows, horse racing and concerts.
The complaint, filed by the Monterey-based law office of Michael Stamp, names the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and FORA’s board of directors as defendants. The county Redevelopment Agency, CSU Monterey Bay and Monterey Peninsula College are also named “out of an abundance of caution,” the lawsuit explains. Each of these entities owns property along the proposed road, and approved its route in a memorandum of understanding.
Supervisors voted 4-1 Oct. 11 to sign the MOU, with Jane Parker dissenting. The board approved the road plan on its consent agenda, which is intended for routine county actions.
But Salerno says the Eastside Parkway deserved a full public hearing under state environmental rules: “The approval of a freeway on the consent calendar is ridiculous.”
This lawsuit comes in addition to another challenge to the county’s plans for developing Fort Ord, filed in August by local nonprofit LandWatch. That complaint alleges the county violated environmental rules with its placement of the Whispering Oaks business park, which includes a Monterey-Salinas Transit bus yard.
Supervisor Lou Calcagno has asked the supes to revisit that project approval in light of 18,000 petition signatures, delivered to the County Elections Department, requesting a referendum.
Redevelopment Agency officials did not respond to requests for comment by the Weekly’s deadline. The defendants were served with the suit Nov. 15.