July 2, 2012
Almost a year after the County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to support a new Monterey-Salinas Transit headquarters and a business park on the former Fort Ord—a project named for the 3,400 trees it would've leveled—the same board took steps last week to preserve the Whispering Oaks site in perpetuity.
On June 26, the board voted 5-0 to adopt a resolution of intent to change the zoning of some 115 acres from Planned Development to Open Space Recreation or Habitat Management.
Before the board makes a final determination, county staff will prepare an analysis of the economic impacts of rezoning, taking into account recent changes in the housing market and the dissolution of California's redevelopment agencies. The board will then consider whether or not to change the zoning for the site at 8th Avenue and Gigling Road.
The board received nearly 100 letters from the public in support of changing the zoning to preserve habitat in perpetuity. Open space supporters collected some 18,000 signatures last year for a referendum on the ballot, but before the question went to voters, the board reneged on its earlier decision and canceled the plans.