ABSTRACT: Selected sections of Project Description (3.0) are presented, including PROJECT LOCATION AND AREA (3.1), PROJECT BACKGROUND (3.2) and PROJECT OBJECTIVES (3.3). Other sections, namely PROJECT CHARACTERISTICS (3.4) and REQUIRED PERMITS AND APPROVALS (3.5) are not presented.
3.0 PROJECT DESCRIPTION
This section presents the project description as required by CEQA Guidelines §15124. The proposed project consists of the sale of the Flanders Mansion property, a 1.252 acre parcel together with all improvements. The project site is considered parkland and is zoned P-2 (Improved Parkland). The grounds of the Flanders Mansion property have historically been used by the public for passive recreational activities and the property provides a number of park benefits. Surrounding the property is an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA) zoned P-1. This area plus the project site are all part of the City’s largest park, the Mission Trail Nature Preserve. The building on the property (the Flanders Mansion) is recognized as a historic resource and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. No part of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve zoned P-1 is subject to sale and all of it would be retained as public parkland.
3.1 PROJECT LOCATION AND AREA
The project site is located in the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, situated at the southernmost portion of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey County, California (refer to Figure 3-1). The project site is known as the Flanders Mansion property (APN# 010-061-005). It is located within, and surrounded on all sides by, the Mission Trail Nature Preserve. Immediately east of the Flanders Mansion property is a part of the Preserve known as the Lester Rowntree Arboretum, a native plant garden/arboretum. Both the Mission Trail Nature Preserve and the Lester Rowntree Arboretum are zoned P-1 (Unimproved Parkland) and are designated ESHA according to the City’s Coastal Land Use Plan. Land uses immediately adjacent to the Mission Trail Nature Preserve include single family residential neighborhoods zoned R-1 and R-1-C-20 located within the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea to the west. A single family residential neighborhood, within the jurisdiction of Monterey County, known as Hatton Fields, is located to the east. The Carmel Mission is located immediately south of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve across Rio Road and land uses to the north consist predominately of single family residential neighborhoods. Figure 3-2 shows the project site and surrounding vicinity. The property is accessible by an approximately 350-foot long driveway from Hatton Road. Approximately 190 feet is included in the Flanders’ property. The remaining 160-foot driveway easement provides public access to the Lester Rowntree Arboretum. The area at the end of the driveway is currently used informally as public parking to access the Mission Trail Nature Preserve.
Mission Trail Nature Preserve includes 35 acres acquired by the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1971 and was zoned as a passive use park (P-1) except for Flanders Mansion which was zoned Improved Parkland (P-2). All of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve is open to the public for passive recreational use. There are five entrances to the park: Mountain View Avenue, Rio Road, 11th Avenue, Martin Road, and Hatton Road (See Figure 4.2-1). These entrances lead to a network of hiking trails, over three miles in extent, which provide access throughout the 35-acre park. The Mission Trail Nature Preserve is recognized for its scenic qualities, including expansive views of Fish Ranch, Point Lobos, the Carmel Mission, and Carmel Bay.
3.2 PROJECT BACKGROUND
In 1923, real estate developer Paul Flanders moved to Carmel to establish a business and a home. Flanders selected a site just inside the City limits and adjacent to the “Hatton Fields,” land he had purchased with his partners in the Carmel Realty Company to develop for residential use. To design his house, Flanders hired one of the first—if not the first—professional architect to work in Carmel. Flanders’ architect was noted San Francisco draftsman Henry Higby Gutterson.
The Flanders Mansion has been described in historic preservation documents as a remarkable example of Gutterson’s mature work. The English Cottage Tudor Revival was designed both technically and aesthetically to meet the realties of Carmel’s coastal climate. Gutterson sited the building into a slope in order to incorporate into his design the expansive views of the Carmel Valley, Santa Lucia Mountain Range, Carmel Bay, and the Pacific Ocean that were available from the property. The cement block building is a unique combination of English half-timbered, English country, and English cottage styles. The Flanders Mansion was fabricated of precast concrete units, (known as “Thermotite”), which was a new product at the time of the building’s construction. Some residences had employed this new product before construction of the Flanders Mansion, however none in a cavity wall system. The Flanders Mansion continues to be the only known example of cavity wall construction in the region.
In 1972, the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea acquired the mansion and the adjoining parcel for $275,000. Since that time, the house has been used as an art institute, offices for the Carmel Preservation Foundation, offices and library for the Lester Rowntree Arboretum, and housing for various city employees and caretaker. In 1989, the Flanders Mansion was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in architecture. It has been vacant since 2003. The following is a chronological history of the Flanders Mansion Property, associated uses, and relevant information related to the Superior Court’s decision concerning the sale of the Flanders Mansion.
1924: Paul Flanders builds his residence on the property.
1968: Proposed subdivision of Flanders property into 65 townhouses is denied by City.
1969: Re-submittal of subdivision for 45 units is denied by City.
1971: City purchases 17.5-acres Doolittle property, adjacent to Flanders, for $120,000.
1972: Proposed subdivision of Flanders property into 1-acre parcels is denied by City.
1972: City purchases 14.9-acres Flanders property for $275,000 on 15 August 1972. According to the City, the sale of the house to offset the cost of the adjacent open space lands was first considered shortly after the purchase was completed.
1973: City begins planning for Flanders-Doolittle properties as parkland.
1975: City Council certifies EIR for creation of a park, drainage, fill, trails, etc.
1977: Town hall meeting discusses possible uses for the Mansion. Options include residential lease, sale for residential use and lease to non-profit for public and/or non-profit use.
1977: City leases the Mansion to the City Administrator as single-family residence for $400 per month.
1979: City Council adopts R-1 zone for 1.43 acres around the Mansion and adopts a re-zone to P-1 for the surrounding parklands.
1980: City creates new P-2-A zoning district and zones the .83-acre area of land encompassing the Flanders Mansion and grounds as P-2-A.
1985: Planning Commission determines that sale of the Mansion would not conflict with the General Plan. (June)
1986: City Council adopts Resolution on sale of Flanders Mansion. (December)
1987: Negative Declaration prepared for sale of the Mansion, including General Plan amendment, rezone and re-subdivision.
1987: Planning Commission adopts Resolution No. 87-23 finding sale of the Mansion to be inconsistent with the General Plan. (April)
1987: City Council allows 6-months for Commissions, Committees and the public to develop a viable use for the Mansion.
1988: City adopts Resolution No. 88-97 finding sale of the Mansion inconsistent with the General Plan. (September)
1989: Mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1990: City leases Mansion to Carmel Heritage for $1.00 per year.
(Note: Other uses by non-profit groups such as the Lester Rowntree Arboretum Committee continued for portions of the Flanders Mansion for several years. Following this, a caretaker occupied the Mansion until approximately 2003. The Mansion has been vacant since this occupancy was terminated.)
1996: Task Force established to make recommendations for long-term use of the Mansion.
1996: City Council rejects conversion of Mansion into a youth hostel.
1996: City Council solicits proposals for use; submitted information for uses includes potential culinary institute, and/or use by CSUMB as well as other uses. Council allows 6-months to gather information.
1997: City Council directs the City Administrator to reject a proposal from Culinary Arts Institute because it would degrade the passive recreational environment in the Mission Trail Nature Preserve and the Lester Rowntree Arboretum.
1999: On December 7, the City Council considers proposal submitted by the Flanders Foundation and staff to prepare for the sale or lease of the Flanders Mansion as a single-family, historic residence and to formulate a lot line adjustment to ensure preservation of the Lester Rowntree Arboretum (Native Plant Garden).
2000: Planning Commission approves lot line adjustment creating 1.25-acre parcel under the Mansion subject to findings and conditions. On August 15, 2000, the City Council voted not to approve the concept to use the Flanders Mansion as a conference/cultural center. On September 19, 2000, the City Council adopted Resolution 2000-115 authorizing the City Administrator to enter into a contract for real estate services with Coldwell Banker/Del Monte Realty in connection with the Flanders Mansion.
2003: On June 3, 2003, the City Council directed staff to coordinate the sale or lease of the Flanders Mansion and prepare the legal documents for City Council ratification, including the state statute requirements.
2004: City Council adopts ordinance rezoning the 1.25-acre Mansion parcel to P-2 and all of the surrounding parklands to P-1 as part of the Local Coastal Program.
2004: (September) City Council initiates discussion of infrastructure and capital funding needs over the next ten years.
2004: (October) City Council, Planning Commission and Forest and Beach Commission meet in joint session to discuss potential sale of real property assets to meet a portion of the City’s capital funding needs. Flanders Mansion is identified as the most likely candidate for sale.
2004: (November) City Council held a public scoping hearing for the sale of Flanders Mansion Property and determined the need to prepare an EIR because this sale would involve property zoned as Parkland (P-2), within and near existing parkland and an historic resource.
2005: (January) The City filed a Notice of Preparation (NOP) to interested agencies and organizations. NOP comments were received from the agencies and public on or before February 22, 2005. The Draft EIR was distributed to interested responsible and trustee agencies, interested groups, organizations, and individuals on April 1, 2005 for a 45-day public review period which ended on May 16, 2005. Fifty-four comment letters were received by the City within the public review period.
2005: (August) The Final EIR was prepared and released for public review August 2005.
2005: (September) On September 22, 2005 the Carmel-by-the-Sea City Council approved the project, certified the EIR, adopted the Mitigation Monitoring Program and adopted a statement of overriding considerations for the sale of the Flanders Mansion property.
2007: (August) Amended Judgment Granting Petition for Writ of Mandamus for The Flanders Foundation vs. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea and City Council of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea (Mont. Co. Super. Ct. Case No. M76728), filed August 10, 2007 found the EIR to be inadequate because the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea failed to provide substantial evidence, in the form of an economic analysis, documenting that the environmentally superior alternative, lease of the Flanders Mansion, was considered infeasible. In addition, the city’s certification and other resolutions failed to recognize the Flanders Mansion parcel had historically been considered part of the park. The petition for the Writ of Mandamus raised challenges under CEQA, the Carmel-by-the-Sea Municipal Code, and the California Government Code, all in connection with the proposed sale of the Flanders Mansion by its owner, the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
2007: (November) As ordered in the Judgment, the City Council on November 6, 2007, adopted Resolution 2007-71 to rescind Resolutions Numbered 2005-55, 2005-56, 2005-57, 2005-58 to decertify the EIR for the Sale of the Flanders Mansion Property project and rescind resolutions related to project selection, overriding considerations, project implementation, mitigation measures and findings.
2008: City Council directs staff to initiate preparation of a Recirculated Draft EIR for the sale of Flanders Mansion Property consistent with the Superior Court’s ruling. Staff is also directed to authorize Architectural Resources Group (ARG) to prepare a cost estimate for necessary repairs to the Flanders Mansion. Staff is also directed to authorize CBRE, Inc., to prepare an economic feasibility analysis.
3.3 PROJECT OBJECTIVES
In accordance with §15124 of the State CEQA Guidelines, an EIR must present a statement of objectives sought by the proposed project. A description of the project’s objectives defines the project’s intent and facilities the formation of project alternatives. Specifically, §15124(b) of the State CEQA Guidelines states the following requirement: “A statement of the objectives sought by the proposed project. A clearly written statement of objectives will help the lead agency develop a reasonable range of alternatives to evaluate in the EIR and will aid the decision makers in preparing findings or a statement of overriding considerations, if necessary. The statement of objectives should include the underlying purpose of the project.” Consistent with the requirements of CEQA Guidelines §15124(b), the following section presents both the primary and secondary project objectives associated with the sale of the Flanders Mansion Property...
The City of Carmel-by-the-Sea has identified the primary purpose of the proposed sale is to divest the City of the Flanders Mansion Property which is in need of significant short-term and long-term repair and rehabilitation. In addition to the primary purpose above, there are six secondary objectives.
1) To ensure that the Flanders Mansion is preserved as an historic resource;
2) To ensure that the Flanders Mansion building and property are put to productive use;
3) To ensure that future use of the Flanders Mansion and property will not cause significant traffic, parking, or noise impacts on the surrounding neighborhood;
4) To ensure that future use will not significantly disrupt the public’s enjoyment of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve or the Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden;
5) To ensure that environmental resources of the park are protected; and
6) To ensure that the Flanders Mansion parcel continues to provide the public with as many park benefits as are practical.