August 12, 2011
There's now also a legal challenge facing Monterey County when it comes to the Board of Supervisors' 4-1 approval in July of the Whispering Oaks development on the former Fort Ord. In a lawsuit filed Aug. 5 in Monterey Superior Court on behalf of LandWatch, plaintiffs name Monterey County, the County Redevelopment Agency, and Monterey-Salinas Transit and allege they violated environmental rules.
The environmental impact review "fails to adequately identify, evaluate, and mitigate all potentially significant impacts on the environment, including impacts to oak woodlands, traffic air quality, green house gas, wildlife, sensitive habitats, rare plants, water quality, aesthetics and glare, land us and planning, and water supply," according to the complaint. Specifically, LandWatch says the EIR failed to consider alternative locations for the project, a point of contention through public hearings because of a site change that will require leveling more trees than might have been originally required.
The complaint also says the project is inconsistent with the county's General Plan, the Fort Ord Reuse Plan and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority Act.
LandWatch calls for the county to set aside its project approval and EIR, and not to issue any permits that would allow the project to proceed.
The lawsuit comes in addition to a citizen-led effort to get a referendum to voters next June that could undo the County Board of Supervisors' approval of the Whispering Oaks development. The Board of Supervisors will have the opportunity to rescind its approval before a referendum goes on the ballot.