ABSTRACT: Information about the Flanders Mansion all Carmel residents and voters should know to make an informed decision about the proposed sale of the Flanders Mansion Property is presented because only a well-informed populace can make sound public-policy decisions, particularly regarding the future of a City-owned National Register of Historic Places resource.
With regard to the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s proposed Sale of the Flanders Mansion Property, it is important for Carmel-by-the-Sea residents and voters to be fully informed about all of the issues surrounding the Flanders Mansion Property and the consequences of a sale of the Flanders Mansion Property. Important information to consider is presented in six categories, including, as follows:
• HISTORY OF FLANDERS MANSION
• FLANDERS MANSION IN THE CONTEXT OF MISSION TRAIL NATURE PRESERVE
• MISSION TRAIL NATURE PRESERVE MASTER PLAN & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORTS ON THE SALE OF THE FLANDERS MANSION PROPERTY
• THE FLANDERS FOUNDATION
• WRIT OF MANDAMUS FOR THE FLANDERS FOUNDATION VS. CITY OF CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, ET AL.
• CITY EXPENDITURES TOWARDS THE SALE OF THE FLANDERS MANSION PROPERTY & CITY BUDGET
HISTORY OF FLANDERS MANSION:
• In the early 1920s, real estate developer Paul Flanders and his Carmel Realty Company partners purchased the “Flanders parcel,” which he intended to develop for residential use. In 1968, the City denied Flanders his proposed subdivision of Flanders parcel into 65 townhouses. Later, in 1969, the City denied Flanders resubmitted application for 45 units. Finally, in 1972, the City again denied Flanders application to subdivide Flanders parcel into 1-arce parcels. Then, in 1972, the City purchased the 14.9-acre Flanders Property for $275,000 and in 1973 the City merged the 17.5-acre Doolittle property to the 14.9-acre Flanders Property to form parkland, now Mission Trail Nature Preserve. Ergo, from the public’s perspective, the Flanders Mansion has not been viewed as a house in the Hatton Fields neighborhood; rather Flanders Mansion has been seen as a Mansion in a Preserve/Park.
• Flanders Mansion was designed by noted San Francisco architect, Henry H. Gutterson. In 1924, Gutterson was hired by Paul and Grace Flanders to design their 5,559 square foot home and gardens within a park-like setting. The resulting building called “Outlands”, an English cottage design, (a sub-style of the Tudor Revival), was one of the first structures in Carmel of this pictorial style of architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places under local significance in 1989.
• Since the City’s acquisition of the Flanders Mansion in 1972, the Flanders Mansion has been used as an art institute, offices for the Carmel Heritage Society, offices and library for the Lester Rowntree Arboretum Committee, and housing for a city administrator and caretaker and 1995 Alliance on Aging Decorator Showcase.
• Although a Task Force was established to make recommendations for the long-term use of the Flanders Mansion, City Councils have rejected proposals, including a youth hostel, culinary institute and use by CSUMB. Furthermore, City Councils have historically not made a commitment to work cooperatively with a group to determine a suitable use and then implement that identified low intensity public use.
FLANDERS MANSION IN THE CONTEXT OF MISSION TRAIL NATURE PRESERVE:
• The Flanders Mansion Property is located within, and surrounded on all sides by, the City’s largest park, 35-acre 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. The Flanders Mansion Property is considered an integral part of the Missions Trail Nature Preserve because it provides park benefits and also facilitates the use of other areas of the 35-acre preserve; no physical boundaries separate the Flanders Mansion Property from the remaining portion of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve. 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.
• The Flanders Mansion is considered an integral part of the visual character of the area by providing a unique architectural element that is visually distinct and reflective of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s rich and diverse history. The Mansion represents an important visual landmark within the Mission Trail Nature Preserve and its integration into the Mission Trail Nature Preserve significantly enhances the visual experience of park visitors.
CITY’S MISSION TRAIL NATURE PRESERVE MASTER PLAN & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORTS ON THE SALE OF THE FLANDERS MANSION PROPERTY & GENERAL PLAN:
• The City’s Mission Trail Nature Preserve Master Plan indicates that the Flanders Mansion is an intrinsic part of the preserve and the surrounding area. The sale of the Flanders Mansion would have the effect of removing the property from public use.
• The Environmental Impact Reports on the Sale of the Flanders Mansion Property identified two “significant and unavoidable” environmental impacts, as follows:
1. Sale of the Flanders Mansion Property would result in environmental impacts due to the permanent loss of parkland that have the potential to conflict with certain goals, objectives and policies identified in the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan intended on minimizing impacts to parkland and promoting public use of publicly owned parkland.
2. Sale of the Flanders Mansion Property would result in the loss locally significant parkland that is considered an integral component of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve.
• The Environmental Impact Reports identified “Potentially inconsistent” goal, objective and policy of the City’s General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan Coastal Resource Management Element, as follows:
G5-6 Preserve and acquire open space and parks. (LUP)
O5-21 Optimize public use of City parks.
P5-107 Provide for public access and passive enjoyment of City parks and open space.
• As stated in the Environmental Impact Report, the “sale of the property would effectively result in the permanent loss of parkland located within the Mission Trail Nature Preserve. Although the sale of the Flanders Mansion Property would represent a relatively small reduction in the total amount of parkland (2% of all parkland) in the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the proposed project would significantly impact the Mission Trail Nature Preserve by directly impacting the cohesive nature of the Preserve.”
“For the purposes of this RDEIR, however, a change in ownership would directly impact the integrity of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve by eliminating access to and certain views of a portion of the park currently used by park visitors. Moreover, the Flanders Mansion and property are recognized in the Mission Trail Nature Preserve Master Plan as being an integral component of the Preserve. The sale of the Flanders Mansion to a private person or organization would remove 1.252 acres of parkland currently accessible by the public from the surrounding park setting. The sale of the Flanders Mansion is considered significant due to 1) the property’s location entirely within the Mission Trail Nature Preserve; 2) the property’s role in providing park benefits; 3) the presence of the Flanders Mansion, which adds significantly to the public experience of the park; and 4) the proximity of the property to the Lester Rowntree Arboretum."
• If the 1.252-acre Flanders Mansion Property Project site was sold as a single-family residence, it is assumed fences, walls and other means of partitioning the parcel from the remainder of the Mission Trail Nature Preserve and the permanent loss of public access to the Flanders property would result. Specifically, these types of exterior elements could create a visual barrier that would impact views from the Lester Rowntree Arboretum and adjacent trails as well as physically separate the Flanders Property from the Mission Trail Nature Preserve. These features would detract from the intact nature of the Preserve and thereby impact the Preserve’s existing visual integrity. Any intrusive visual or physical separation of the house from the park would be a substantive adverse change.
THE FLANDERS FOUNDATION:
• The Flanders Foundation, incorporated in 1999, is the sole non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and maintenance of the Flanders Mansion property as an “historic, cultural and educational resource for the benefit of residents and visitors to Carmel-by-the-Sea.” Additionally, with the assistance of a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Flanders Foundation developed a Business Plan for Flanders Mansion addressing how Flanders could be restored and maintained long-term with a lease. Moreover, in over nine years as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Sue McCloud has refused to meet with Flanders Foundation representatives to establish a relationship with the Flanders Foundation similar to the City’s relationship with the Carmel Heritage Society when the City leased Flanders Mansion to the Society for $1.00 per year and determine and implement a suitable use of the Flanders Mansion compatible with the Hatton Fields neighborhood.
WRIT OF MANDAMUS FOR THE FLANDERS FOUNDATION VS. CITY OF CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, ET AL.:
• In August 2007, 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.
CITY EXPENDITURES TOWARDS THE SALE OF THE FLANDERS MANSION PROPERTY & CITY BUDGET:
• As of April 2009, the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea had expended a minimum of, excluding city staff costs, $618,086.69 towards the sale of the Flanders Mansion Property, including EIR and other consultant costs, legal and associated costs and other miscellaneous costs.
• 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.” However, for Fiscal Year 2008/09, the City Budget is $14,004,091 and as of June 30, 2008, the City had over $10 million in reserve funds.
City Council Flanders Agenda Packet May 12 2009
RECIRCULATED DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR THE SALE OF FLANDERS MANSION PROPERTY (RDEIR)
Recirculated Final ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT For The SALE OF FLANDERS MANSION PROPERTY (RFEIR)