REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORTS
AND LEGAL CHALLENGES TO SALE OF PARKLAND
KEY EVENTS AND DOCUMENTS
Draft and final EIR and lawsuit
Judge rules in favor of Flanders Foundation
2009 Why the 2009 Revised EIR is
2009 Reasons for additional
legal action - second lawsuit
(Click on the first
column above to move to the document specified.)
2005 Draft and
final EIR and lawsuit
FACT SHEET FOR 2004/05 DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL
IMPACT REPORT ON THE SALE OF FLANDERS
The following are the major impacts that will
affect us all if Mission Trails Nature Preserve is compromised/degraded as a
result of the city's decision to sell Flanders:
1. Loss of public
access to parkland/severely impacts use of trails and traditional paths.
acres with Flanders is to be sold in the middle of
the Nature Preserve/Park.
adversely impact walkers/hikers use and enjoyment of the Flanders Property,
the Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden and
disrupt the existing well known and understood trail system necessitating
rerouting of trails, thereby causing major changes affecting geology,
habitat etc. The current trail system and Park are coherent. This will be
lost with any sale. This is totally inappropriate and unacceptable for
2. We question how will handicapped
visitors access if Hatton Road access is closed.
a. They cannot access views or gentle
topographies for passive enjoyment.
b. Only potential for their recreational
enjoyment is to drive up to the Mansion and enjoy grounds or perhaps parts
of the Lester Rowntree garden.
c. The loss of 5 public spaces will adversely impact the handicapped.
3. Adversely affect bird watchers and dog
4. Adversely impact use of front lawn and
loss of for: picnics, nature talks, casual meetings, reading and resting on
lawn, enjoying views and painting.
5. Will prohibit or
restrict public views of certain areas of the property, potentially eliminating
views of the Flanders Mansion, Carmel Valley, Santa Lucia Range, Fish Ranch,
Carmel Mission, Carmel Bay, Point Lobos, Pacific Ocean, the Nature Preserve &
Meadows from on site and the Nature Preserve public trails to and through the
property. It will be impossible for the city to mitigate these loses without
damage to the environment by creating other view sites and affecting the
environment. These new views will not be comparable.
HISTORICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES:
1. Exterior physical
changes must be forbidden to the structure of the Mansion to preserve its
City has a poor track
record in preservation.
a. number of
b. scale of remodels
c. remodel of Sunset -
lost its historical fabric and not done according to the Secretary of
Must preserve the tree line / no tree removal or changes to landscaping.
This is why maintaining the status quo is appropriate to allow Flanders
Foundation to raise money for rehabilitation and a long term lease.
2. Problems with sale and a
single family use.
fences & walls would
destroy the historical setting of Flanders.
cutoff pedestrian and animal circulation
harm aesthetics and ambiance of park and separate the historic resource
(Flanders) from its
create an in-holding (private property) within a public
park/recreational resource. Many conflicts of use. State and Federal
government avoid this and try to buyout in-holdings, not create them.
light and glare at night and day harms birds, animals and park users.
new exotic and non native plant species may be introduced into the
environmentally sensitive habitat (ESHA). The city is engaged in a
continuing, relentless effort to eradicate Genista.
may change the diversity and the number of birds, and land animals by
introducing noise, light, glare and physical barriers.
loss of open space access and the quality of the
free walking experience through the park to and through the arboretum will
be lost by the proximity to a private residence
Loss of views to the house
and from the lawn & property.
1. Walkers/hikers no
longer will be able to feel that sense of discovery coming upon Flanders
Mansion at head of trail.
2. No longer enjoy from the lawn the beautiful filtered views to Point
Lobos and Carmel Mission.
3. Only way many handicapped persons can enjoy the park and its views is
from the circular drive to the front lawn.
4. These views are unique to the park because they are seen through
the forest filter from the Mansion's lawn.
ALTERNATIVE TO SALE:
Support the "Environmentally
Superior Alternative #2"
1. Support a long-term lease,
2. Use could be by a non profit group or single family
3. Rehabilitation could be achieved by grants and donations obtained by non
profits or by single family lessee.
4. Single family lessee must be requested and agree to specified times for
5. Mitigation measures in Draft relating to rehabilitation protections are
totally inadequate due to the city's extremely poor track record of
implementation of the Secretary of Interior Guidelines at Sunset Center, the
other National Register property in Carmel. The city's lack of effective
enforcement of its own conditions of approval on projects gives the public
no confidence that it can or will protect Flanders Mansion.
FACT SHEET FOR 2005 FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL
IMPACT REPORT ON THE SALE OF FLANDERS
The following are the major
points/issues in the Final EIR (FEIR) that will affect us all if Mission
Trail Nature Preserve is compromised or degraded as a result of the city's
decision to sell Flanders.
The city has changed its
objectives since the Draft EIR:
Reasons for the sale of Flanders Mansion were
1. to generate funds
for city needed capital improvements (buildings, parks, roads etc.) to
2. to divest the city of a property in need of significant
funding for maintenance.
To divest the city of Flanders while preserving the
Mansion as an historic resource. Sounds good but:
a. it doesn't solve the issue of a single family living in
the middle of a park or solve the use conflicts.
b. it doesn't guarantee that the city will develop protection measures
for the historic building/park
The Least Environmentally
Damaging Alternative (i.e. recommended action by the consultants).
Alternative # 1. No project
- meaning no sale/ but no rehabilitation.
Alternative #2 (we
support). Retain and lease Flanders. This meets the goal of keeping it
public, reducing impacts on the views, access, historic asset and potential
impacts on the cohesive structure of Mission Trail Nature Preserve.
leased to a single family or non-profit
Significant Unavoidable Impacts if sold:
1. Impact #3.
Conflict in the General Plan and LCR policies related to view
shed/aesthetics (G5-3, P5-46, G5-13, P6-8). City must make findings that the
project is consistent with these goals and policies.
2. Impact #13.
Many conflicts with city's existing goals, objectives and policies (05-21,
p5-139,p5-107, 05-32,G5-6, G5-8)
3. Impact 15.
Loss of public access to the property when it is zoned P-2. This is
significant because it is located in the middle of the park and the presence
of the Flanders Mansion, a National Register Historic resource proximity to
the Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden Arboretum.
4. Impact 16.
Create impacts to the cohesive structure of the Mission Trail Nature
Preserve by changing the control of the new parcel under private ownership
in the center of the park (Flanders).
a. The new owner may eliminate public access by constructing
fences, edges or walls.
b. The city will have to weigh sale with the Mission Trail
Master Plan (MTNP) which states that the Flanders Mansion is an
intrinsic part of MTNP and the surrounding area including the Lester
Rowntree Native Plant Garden.
c. The EIR suggests that the city require that the house and
grounds be open to the public two times per year for a total of 16 hours
to help mitigate the loss of this asset.
d. There is no strong or meaningful preservation plan
provided for other than a photographic documentary.
e. There must be:
- A conservation easement held by a 3rd party such as the
National Trust, California Preservation Foundation, Flanders Foundation,
etc. to ensure the protection of the historic resource including the entire
parcel in question.
An endowment to cover the review and enforcement expenses,
etc. of the conservation easement. We suggest a modest amount from sale to
cover the responsibilities incurred by the holder of the easement. The city
would no longer have any burden relative to these grounds/the parcel for
5. The third city change.
"Ensure that the building (Flanders and property) is put to productive use
while protecting neighbors from undue increases in traffic, parking and
noise impacts." The city is more· concerned about county neighbors
than our community assets.
The county neighbors did a
huge letter writing campaign promoting the sale of Flanders to a private
family. This is a long held position. Productive use means out
of city, your ownership and into private hands. The city has allowed
county neighbors since the late 1900's to dictate what happens at Flanders.
City Councils since 2000 have cared more about the county
residents than they have about city property/assets and residents needs
They have listened to these neighbors because of potential
donations for Sunset Center Theater.
These neighbors have opposed and killed all uses proposed
for Flanders except single family residential.
a. loss of public
access to parkland and Flanders/severely impacts trails and traditional
paths. There are some mitigation's suggested by the consultant but they
are not guaranteed to be approved by the council.
1.25 acres with Flanders is to be sold in the middle of the
A major legal claim of the consulting attorney is that it
is not in the midst of the park.
The city and their new attorney claim that this isn't even
parkland. It was purchased for and as parkland and has been zoned so
b. Will disrupt the
existing well known and understood trail system. The current trail
system and park are coherent.
c. The lawns and old garden area will be lost for picnics,
casual meetings, nature talks, painters and viewers unless the council
is forced to open the house and gardens to residents and visitors twice
a year for the house and four times for the gardens for special events.
d. Views of and to will be eliminated or restricted unless
walls, fences and hedges are seriously restricted or prohibited.
e. Adversely impacts
bird watchers and dog walkers.
physical changes must be forbidden to the structure of the Mansion to
preserve its historical integrity.
Agree with FEIR:
No alterations or additions
Rehab or restoration
Secretary of Interior Standards and using professional consultants from
Problems with sale and a single family use.
& walls would destroy
the historical open park
Flanders. FLANDERS IS ZONED PARKLAND.
and animal circulation
harm aesthetics and
ambiance of park and separate the historic resource (Flanders) from its
original and longtime surroundings and historic context
create an in-holding
(private property) within a public park/recreational resource. Many
conflicts of use. State and Federal government avoid this and try to
buyout in-holdings, not create them.
light and glare at
night harms birds, animals and park users.
new exotic and
non native plant species may be introduced into the environmentally
sensitive habitat (ESHA) via the landscaping for a new residence.
may change the
diversity and the number of birds, and land animals by introducing
noise, light, glare and physical barriers.
loss of open space
access and the quality of the free walking experience through the park
to and through the arboretum will be lost by the proximity to a private
residence and the driveway configuration, i.e. driveway would be
shortened as suggested by consultants.
Loss of views to the
house and from the lawn & property.
longer will be able to feel that sense of discovery coming upon Flanders
Mansion at head of trail.
longer enjoy from
the lawn the beautiful filtered views to Point Lobos and Carmel Mission.
way many handicapped persons can enjoy the park and its views is from
the circular drive to the front lawn facing south, i.e. support parking
along the driveway
views are unique to the park because they are seen through the forest
filter from the Mansion's lawn
ALTERNATIVE TO SALE
Support the "Environmentally
Superior Alternative #2"
long-term lease. Not sale.
2. Use could be by a non
profit group or single family with a life tenancy.
3. Rehabilitation could be
achieved by grants and donations obtained by non profits or by single family
lessee with life estate.
4. Single family lessee must
be requested and agree to specified times for public access.
5. Mitigation measures in
the FEIR relating to rehabilitation protections are totally inadequate unless
there is a 3rd party conservation easement to protect the resource through the
recorded conditions of sale and enforceable via an endowment provided by the
funds from a sale. This is how the National Trust and other large preservation
organizations operate when they consummate a conservation easement.
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victory for Flanders Foundation / Carmel won't appeal!
The Monterey County Herald,
October 17, 2007
The Carmel Pine Cone, October
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Why the 2009 Revised EIR is inadequate
THE ISSUE IS: Since the court ruled that the
Flanders Property IS in fact parkland, the New 2009 Environmental Impact
Report has stated the City Council's new reasons for selling it.
The City of Carmel now asserts that its primary purpose for
the sale of the 1.25 acres of Parkland involving the Flanders Property is to
"divest itself of property which is in need of significant short term and long
term repair and rehabilitation." The City never proves that it can't afford to
keep it. Our responses follow.
The City of Carmel also identifies the following 6 Secondary
reasons for sale:
1. To ensure that the Flanders Mansion is preserved as an
Our answer: Who could guarantee this better than the
city through its laws, enforcement powers and clout to obtain grants and
2. To ensure that the Mansion building is put to "productive
Our answer: The city never explains what this means.
However, to us, we believe that the greatest productive use is to open
it to the public for an educational, cultural and natural history museum
and retain the park as a whole, intact open space for the immense
enjoyment of the public.
3. To ensure that the future use of the property will not
cause significant impacts to the adjacent neighborhood.
Our answer: We say that the City is the best party to
accomplish this through its conditions and permitting process and a long
4. To ensure that the future use of the park will not
significantly disrupt the public's enjoyment of the park and arboretum.
Our answer: This can best be achieved if the property
is not sold and remains an intact Dark. The city should
implement its Mission Trails Nature Preserve Master Plan which states
that the Flanders property should be preserved consistent with its
status as a National Register Property.
5. To ensure the protection of the parks environmental
Our answer: The best way to achieve this is not to
sell to a single family. but to keep the park whole and to
maintain the entire park properly through carrying out the Mission
Trails Park Master Plan.
6. To ensure as many park benefits as "practical."
Our Answer: What does this really mean? Why should
the public be asked to accept in its own park "only as many park
benefits" as are "practical?" Rather than accept this we must tell the
City to retain this property and thus ensure the integrity of the entire
Views, trails, tranquility, accessibility, all will
be preserved as they are today.
THE FACTS ARE:
1. This sale is about the loss of a very valuable community
asset, parkland, and "environmentally sensitive habitat."
The Flanders property is irreplaceable. Open land in
Carmel is very scarce and extremely expensive. Thus, there will be
little City desire or money in the future to replace it. Once this
parkland is sold, it's gone forever.
This property is "in the center" of our
largest open space/park.
When the Flanders property was purchased in 1972-73
by the City and combined with the Doolittle property, the City Council
envisioned the Mission Trails Nature Preserve/Park to be for Cannel what
the Golden Gate Park is to San Francisco. Would the City of San
Francisco carve up Golden Gate Park? We don't think so!
2. This sale would set a very dangerous precedent. To sell
the Flanders Property, part of Cannel's largest park/open space, an
environmentally sensitive habitat, puts the Native Plant Garden/Arboretum at
risk of sale.
The arboretum consists of 9-11 already subdivided
lots. The City has again recently made Overtures about moving the
arboretum/garden to enhance the sale of Flanders.
Once the City starts to sell off parts of the park,
where will it end?
3. The City has spent over $767,000 of taxpayers' money, plus
countless hours of staff time fighting this issue.
The City would rather pay outside attorneys and
consultants than to make repairs and seek outside grants and allow the
public to enjoy this outstanding public asset as an educational, natural
history, and cultural venue.
4. The city does not lack the money to repair and maintain
It has over $10 million in Reserve Funds.
The past City budget was approximately 1.2 million in
The Transient Occupational Tax monies provided for in
the ordinance were to go for "parks, public facilities and municipal
structures. Thus, there should be funds available for this parkland
In 10 years in spite of good times, the City has
claimed that it needed revenues; however, it did NOTHING significant to
raise new revenues to protect the city in an economic downturn and
provide essential services. Instead, it chooses to raid Reserve funds to
pay for its many hired consultants and part time/contract employees.
Also, in 10 years, the City has not sought out
available grants to rehabilitate the park and restore the Flanders
property. Further, it has rejected offers by outside entities to assist
in performing the needed restoration at no city expense.
The City Council has a long history of failing to
maintain public property, our community assets: Flanders and Mission
Trail Nature Preserve, Forest Theatre, roof of the Public Works Office,
Scout House, the Park Branch Library basement where the city's art
collection has been stored for years and until recently the Fire
5. Environmental Concerns: The sale will create;
A private in holding in the park which will result in
conflicts in use between park visitors and single family residents who
A disruption in the trail system and public use of
the central part of the park.
Will destroy the park's integrity and the public's
enjoyment of unfettered open space.
Will disrupt the extensive and unique flora and
The loss of Park views and view shed which are
A separation of the arboretum/Native Plant Garden
from the Flanders property and the remainder of the park.
Eliminate a major accessible area for the
6. The project (i.e., the sale of Flanders Parkland)
conflicts/violates many of the City's General Plan and Coastal Land Use Plan
goals, policies and objectives.
There are significant unavoidable impacts under the
California Environmental Quality Act as stated in the 2005 Draft Final
Environmental Impact Report, as well as the 2009 Recirculated Draft
Environmental Impact Report.
These goals and policies and objectives are:
To avoid impacts to parkland and ensure that
park benefits are preserved and enhanced.
City to protect, preserve and acquire parks
and open spaces (not sell them).
City to protect and preserve park views and
City to preserve park access, the passive
enjoyment of the park and optimize the use of the parks.
Preserve and enhance our forest, protect, conserve
and enhance the unique natural beauty and irreplaceable natural
resources of Carmel.
Preserve and protect areas within Cannel which due to
their outstanding aesthetic quality, historic value, wildlife habitats
or scenic view sheds should be maintained in permanent open space to
enhance the quality of life.
Conflicts referenced: PS-46; PS-139, PS-107, P6-8.
P7-3; 05-21, 05-32, 05-41; 05-6. 05-4,05-8. OS-3, 05-13 (See General
Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan).
7. In the last 10 years, the City has not once tried to find
an adaptive use for Flanders. It continues to talk about City efforts 11-30
years ago. but they themselves have done nothing in spite of repeated offers by
the Flanders Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to work
8. In the past, the City has also failed to work with
individuals who were capable of refurbishing the property at no cost to the city
and who were desirous of a long term lease. The city would retain the parkland
and receive the property back at a later date. The City was not interested even
when a family was offering to donate an extensive art collection to the
community at the end of their lease.
9. For 10 years the City's goal has been nothing other than
the sale of this parkland. Their eagerness to sell in an economic down turn
makes this sale even more irresponsible and incomprehensible.
Finally, after nine years, losing one lawsuit wherein it
tried to prevent a public vote on the question of a sale and having spent over
$767,000 of taxpayers' money on outside attorneys and consultants, the city
finds itself in court again for failing to comply with the previous court ruling
and the California Environmental Quality Act.
Instead of complying with the law, the city has decided to
hold an expensive election November 3, 2009 in spite of this new suit and
instead of waiting for a court decision, which could invalidate the election
results and be another waste of money.
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Reasons for additional legal action -
State Law & The California Environmental
The State places an extremely high value on
the preservation and protection of parkland and open space, as well as
cultural resources. It deliberately sets a very high bar for cities and
counties to surmount in order to sell parkland properties because of their
tremendous importance to the public. The city may want to sell parkland,
however, if it cannot satisfy the requirements of the law
under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the State Surplus
Lands Act then there is NO SALE.
Again the City of Cannel has failed to
comply with CEQA in the following areas:
The State Surplus Lands Act
requires the city to offer the Flanders Parkland Property to other public
agencies, including affordable housing agencies, before selling it to a
This type of lease or sale could
have major impacts on the park.
This was raised in the 2004-2005 FEIR and the court agreed with our
These impacts were not discussed again
in the City's recent May 2009 FEIR. Therefore, it is inadequate.
These other governmental agencies
do not have to comply with any City Mitigation Measures in the FEIR to
protect this parkland. Thus, the City loses ALL CONTROL over the 1.25 acres
in "the heart" of its largest public park.
The FEIR has not adequately explained or
justified why this parkland is "no longer necessary" for public use as part
of Mission Trails Nature Preserve.
This is significant since it is located in "the heart" of the
City's largest park, Mission trails Nature Preserve.
The City's Economic Analysis
This report fails to demonstrate or support the City's claim
that a sale is the only feasible and practical alternative. In fact,
the consultants actually support our Foundation's view that a rehabilitation
will significantly increase its value and this will only
continue to grow over time. It is fiscally
irresponsible to sell this asset for a one time short term economic
The City fails to make the case that it
cannot afford to do the rehabilitation and maintain this park property.
$10+ minion in city reserves.
Recent budget $1.2 million in the black.
This past budget quarter the City had a
For 10 years the Flanders Foundation and
private parties have offered to lease and refurbish the property. The
City rejected all offers. They favored sale. These facts are part of the
legal record. Since there are viable lease options, the City cannot comply with CEQA.
The report also fails to prove the
infeasibility of a lease. This was part of the court's judgment.
The report also fails to prove that a sale
can better protect Flanders and its parkland.
Since 2004~05 the City has spent almost
$700,000 of tax-payers money trying to avoid complying with State and
City laws. Now again in 2009 the City has failed to make its legal case.
(Note: This $700,000 could have been spent on the rehabilitation of the
Flanders Property, the park, and be open today for people to use and
City's General Plan and Overriding
The City's list of Overriding Considerations
(reasons why it has the right to move forward on a sale regardless of major
City laws and policies in the General Plan/Local Coastal Plan) simply fails
to support the facts:
The City can only get to this point of Overriding Considerations if it has NO OTHER viable alternatives and the
City DOES NOT meet this legal requirement.
All of the City's goals and objectives can
be met without the need for a sale of parkland.
The City's General Plan/Local Coastal Plan
do not support the sale of any parkland. In fact, it speaks to
preservation. protection, enhancement, and purchase of parkland. not sale.
There is NO policy in the General Plan
that authorizes or encourages a sale of any parkland.
The City has a long and distinguished
history of purchasing land to create parks.
Business Plan: Proposed Use for
The Flanders Foundation has a vision and a
Business plan for the Flanders Mansion and its parkland. It is to create a
Cultural and Natural History Museum in this Historic National Trust
Property, to inform and educate visitors of Carmel's rich cultural heritage
as a community and provide a venue for the public to enjoy Carmel's
extensive art collection of paintings and the Weston Collection of
The Natural History Museum would be an
educational venue to provide a greater understanding and appreciation of
Carmel's unique natural setting, flora, fauna and geological history.
The Flanders Foundation would like a long
term lease on the property similar to what Carmel Heritage enjoys at the
First Murphy House.
The Foundation would apply for grants and
donations with the City's support, in order to do the rehabilitation
necessary to open it for the public's use and enjoyment.
The Foundation has produced a professional
Business Plan that demonstrates how a museum can be operated without cost to
the City. This has been ignored by the City for 9 years. The City has chosen
only to pursue a sale.
The county neighbors have legitimate
concerns about additional traffic. This can be solved by controlling the use
through conditions of a lease. The City's ownership best ensures this,
selling does not. Use conditions could be:
Limits on days and hours of operation.
Limits on traffic and access.
The Foundation has received offers from
the National Trust to assist in crafting such conditions, because of their
extensive experience in similar cases around the country.
Desire for Cooperation
over the last 9 years at public meetings and by correspondence, the Flanders
Foundation has sought the City's cooperation in
an effort to rehabilitate the Flanders park property, establish its use as a
Cultural and Natural History Museum or lease Flanders Mansion to a family.
We have offered to raise money toward these
goals, however they have been ignored.
We continue trying to enlist the City's
cooperation, rather than legal action, as we also did in 2004-2005.
However, last year the City once again hired consultants and another outside
attorney to move forward to the stage we are at now.
This has been extremely costly to the
community, almost $700,000 and the adding machine is still counting. The
City seems to be willing to continue to waste public funds (tax-payers money) in
these difficult economic times. Willing to do whatever it takes to sel1 this
particular property, rather than sit down at the table, and work with a group or
individuals on a lease so that the property is:
Retained by the public for the future.
The City's chosen path seems to be heading to court again since it has
failed to comply with the law.
The Flanders Foundation strongly believes that
the City must follow the law. We simply cannot ignore the City's failure to do
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