Seaside City Council to Conduct Monterey Downs Study Session
September 27, 2016
by James Herrera, Monterey Herald
Seaside >> Monterey Downs. The Monterey Horse Park and the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery project will be the focus as the Seaside City Council conducts a study session on Thursday.
The special council meeting at 7 p.m. at the Oldemeyer Center, 986 Hilby Ave., will feature presentations from city staff, the environmental impact report consultant and the project applicant. It will allow public comment regarding the projects and city council discussion, questions and direction to city staff.
The council will study certification of the final subsequent environmental impact report, amendment to the Seaside General Plan, adoption of the Monterey Downs and Monterey Horse Park and Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Specific Plan, and amendment to the Seaside Municipal Code.
A city council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 13 where the city leaders will be requested to take action on the development project.
Recommended actions would include, among other things, certifying that the project’s supplemental environmental impact report was prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and adopting a mitigation monitoring and reporting program.
“These are preliminary actions that need to occur to get (the project) further down the road,” said Teri Wissler Adam, Seaside contract project manager.
Last week, commissioners voted 3-2 to recommend certification of the Monterey Downs supplemental environmental impact report and the project’s specific plan at a Seaside Planning Commission meeting.
That meeting was a continuation of a previous Planning Commission meeting where 4½ hours of highly-charged public comment about the proposed development was heard.
City staff had previously recommended eliminating horse racing as an allowed use on the project site, which won agreement by Monterey Downs official Beth Palmer. Project opponents have called for city officials to find a way to ensure the sport is banned from the site for good.
We’ve had many questions regarding the recent Monterey Downs events. Primarily, “how does this effect the Monterey Horse Park?”
The short answer is that we’re not sure. We know that, in the face of law suits by KFOW and Landwatch, the City of Seaside decided to rescind their approvals of the General Plan and Specific Plan, to de-certify the EIR, and to send the projects back to the Seaside Planning Commission for modifications.
Thursday was a huge step toward our dream of a Horse Park. The Seaside City Council certified the EIR. They also approved the Specific Plan and the General Plan, which will require a second vote November 17.
Over the past 20 years, horse parks in other Western States have contributed greatly to their communities. There is much more information regarding the economic impact of horse parks on local communities. Soon let’s be reading about the impact of the Monterey Horse Park on Seaside!
For anyone who has participated in a horse show, be it at the national, state or local level, there is no doubt that these activities generate a lot of money. The American Horse Council’s Economic Impact of the Horse Industry on the United States study includes some impressive statistics that confirm the significant impact of the horse show industry.
Home to more equine events than any other city in the world, Oklahoma City is the venue of choice for more than a dozen top national and world championship horse shows, attracting riders from across the nation – and world – each year.
Not only do Oklahoma City horse shows provide family fun entertainment, they make a substantial contribution to the city’s economy.
Horse Shows in the Sun, Inc. is pleased to release the results of an extensive economic impact study of their 2014 horse show series held each January – March at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida.
Horse Shows in the Sun located in Thermal, CA is a seasonal venue offering a series of 8 horse shows each winter. Each week brings 3000 horses, 10,500 horsemen and horsewomen and 25,000 spectators to Thermal. Most importantly, $120,000,000 is added annually to the local economy in money spent on food, lodging, living expenses and entertainment. Imagine what a year round facility such as the Monterey Horse Park could bring in!
This Thursday, November 10, the EIR Certification will once again come before the Seaside City Council and this time we hope there will be a vote.
Thursday night’s Seaside City Council meeting was well attended by numerous MHP supporters and board members. A number of persons from the hospitality industry, real estate, and chambers of commerce spoke in favor of the three projects, as well as private citizens of Seaside. The Mayor and Council were forced to continue the meeting to November 10 due to a last minute legal submission of a multiple page document, but we remain optimistic and will keep you informed.
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