Ventana permit: Background

Petition Background

The stated goal of the Big Sur Land Use Plan (LUP) is: ”To preserve for posterity the incomparable beauty of the Big Sur country, its special natural and cultural resources, its landforms and seascapes and inspirational vistas. To this end, all development must harmonize with and be subordinate to the wild and natural character of the land.”

No Local LUP Review

Coastal Commission policy has always been that the LUAC (Land Use Advisory Committee) will review all permits pertinent to it’s area of responsibility. The Coastal Commission issued the recent Ventana permits with no Big Sur LUAC review. This represents a failure of due process resulting in development inconsistent with the the Big Sur LUP. The permits must therefore be reevaluated.

   From the Big Sur LUP:

  • Avoiding Urban Patterns: “The scenic beauty of the Big Sur coast, and the opportunity to escape urban patterns, are prime attractions for residents and visitors alike. Man-made improvements detract from the near wilderness attributes of the area, if not individually, then collectively.” 2.1, LUP
  • Critical viewshed (the aesthetics of Big Sur): All development needs to be subordinate to the natural beauty, and consistent with it’s historic rural and rustic character of its history (materials and scale).

  • All new development not in conformance with the approved representations shall be removed.” 3.2.3.B-1 LUP

  • Traffic: ‘Proposed new or expanded public or private visitor-serving uses shall be required to submit with their application, a traffic component which evaluates the anticipated impact to Highway 1 service capacity and makes recommendations on how conflicts can be overcome or mitigated.” 4.1.3-C2, L UP

    Regarding the current development project at Ventana Inn:

  • The permits recently issued by the California Coastal Commission, with no local review, set precedents that threaten the preservation and public access goals of the Big Sur Plan and the California Coastal Act of 1974. These inconsistencies are not acceptable.

  • The absence of a traffic study requirement for this permit, in addition to no flagging, and a near absence of public process is not acceptable procedure, and betrays the LUP.

  • Historic buildings are slated for demolition in the plan.
  • Signage – Walls and signs in this project are inconsistent with required specific design criteria in the LUP. This allows for the use of only native materials, “no neon plastic”, etc.
  • ’Glamping’ – Loss of affordable accommodations: The 1971-72 Ventana permit met the LUP requirement that low cost, overnight accommodation be provided to offset hotel units being planned. The current plan’s $350-450/night “glamping” units must revert.