Discussion of Proposed Project
The Board received the recommendations of the Moss Landing Community Plan Update
Committee (“Committee”) on January 27, 2009. This committee was formed partly in response
to various development proposals within Moss Landing. These included proposals by the
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing Marine Labs, and the Moss Landing
Green Business Park. Since that time another project (Gregg Drilling) is prepared to move
forward. In meetings between the County and the Coastal Commission staff it was determined
that a comprehensive approach was the preferable approach to address these projects. The
Committee was formed to look at the Moss Landing Community Plan (“Plan”) and determine if
changes are needed to the Plan or if the various developments could proceed. The Committee
recommended updating the Plan because some issues need a comprehensive solution at the Plan
level in order to support development currently proposed in Moss Landing. The most significant
items that require attention include traffic, water and wastewater. Very little development is
possible in Moss Landing until these items are addressed.
The Plan is a part of the North County Land Use Plan (NCLUP), which is part of the County’s
certified Local Coastal Program (“LCP”). As such, consideration has been given to updating the
NCLUP. Updating the NCLUP is a much larger undertaking, and it will be more efficient to
update the Plan now, while beginning work on the NCLUP. A substantial amount of work was
accomplished in the six months during which the Committee reviewed the Plan. The community
of Moss Landing is geographically small, and the people on the Committee were very willing to
work together to develop solutions to complex issues. The area and issues associated with
updating the NCLUP are far more broad and diverse. It would take at least a year of meetings to
achieve the same product for the NCLUP that has already been achieved in Moss Landing. It
would take approximately a total of 3 years to complete the process of updating the NCLUP. In
contrast, the Plan has already received a substantial amount of work. Staff believes that a draft
could be completed and ready for review in less than a year. The element of the update process
that will take the most time is the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report.
Proceeding with the NCLUP now would leave the individual development interests in Moss
Landing with a choice of either waiting until the NCLUP is updated or proceeding on their own.
In order to proceed individually, each would be responsible for developing solutions to larger
issues that may require amendments to the Plan.
Instead, the proposed course provides an opportunity to address the issues of the Plan, and allows
the various development interests to proceed through the review process, in a very
Initiation of the Plan update process now could allow proposed development projects to be
reviewed in light of the Plan update. The proposed approach would allow an Environmental
Impact Report to be prepared for the update of the Plan and for the specific projects proposed
within Moss Landing. If the EIR were certified, and the Plan approved, the projects could then
rely on the EIR and receive immediate consideration. It would also streamline the environmental
review process for these projects. Instead of preparing an EIR for the Plan update and then doing
subsequent environmental analysis for the project specific impacts, the EIR would analyze the
impacts of the Plan and the specific projects. The one EIR would serve both purposes.
This idea has been discussed with the project proponents, including the provision that the project
proponents would pay for the cost of the EIR and pay half of the administrative cost for
processing the EIR. There is general agreement between the project proponents that this is a
good idea and they want to proceed. Normally, costs associated with the preparation of an EIR
and the cost of administering the EIR associated with the update of a community plan would be
the County’s responsibility.
The project proponents who have been involved in the discussion include Monterey Bay
Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing Marine Labs, Moss Landing Green Business Park,
Gregg Drilling, The Harbor District, and representation from downtown. This list represents
anybody who has expressed an interest in pursuing new development during the meetings of the
Committee. It is not intended to be an exclusive list; anybody who has a project contemplated is
encouraged to participate. To be included, a project proponent would need to make their specific
proposal known to the Planning Department and agree to participate financially in the
preparation of the EIR prior to Board approval of the contract with the EIR consultant.
Currently, all known projects are represented. The proportionate share for each party is based
upon a combined percentage of new employees projected to result from the proposed new
development, land to be developed and proposed square footage. This has been tentatively
agreed to by the representatives of these different developments.
The attached work program (Exhibit C) outlines the time frame and the staff time needed to
prepare the Plan update and prepare and process the EIR. As discussed under Finance, the
County cost to update the Plan and administer the EIR is $134,640. This estimate also includes
approximately 90 contingency hours for staff time. The worst- case budget estimate for the
preparation of the EIR is $450,000. Staff will work with the EIR consultant to reduce the price
to what staff deems appropriate. If the cost of the EIR exceeds $450,000, this project will not
proceed forward. The cost of the EIR will not affect the County cost.
The Plan is a portion of the NCLUP. Updating the Plan will be the first step in an update of the
NCLUP. The Plan and the NCLUP is a portion of the LCP which ultimately will require Coastal
Commission certification prior to implementation.