Fort Ord Rec Users
Take Action:
 
 
The MST board meeting is tomorrow, Monday, February 13th at 10am.
One Ryan Ranch Road, Monterey, enter from Canyon del Rey Blvd.
Ask the MST board to re-agendize and reexamine the Whispering Oaks location.

The Board of Supervisor meeting is Tuesday, February 14th at 1:30pm.
168 W Alisal, Salinas, corner of Capitol.
Ask the supervisors to rescind the EIR and rezoning for MST/Whispering Oaks.

Please attend. This is it.

See editorial in today's Monterey Herald below.
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Editorial: Whispering Oaks wrong site for bus yard
The Monterey County Herald
Posted: 02/11/2012 03:13:41 PM PST

The best argument for building a transit center at the Whispering Oaks site at Fort Ord seems to be that more than $4 million has already been spent on site preparation and design work. Beyond that, Monterey-Salinas Transit and the few who support the location have given the public little reason to accept this flawed project. There have been studies, impact reports, grant requests, public hearings and more, but what ultimately sinks the venture is common sense. Other than the money—spent prematurely and without meaningful public input or scrutiny—there is no compelling case for building a
large bus yard in a spot that would require removal of several thousand mature trees and interrupt a series of well-established horse and foot trails.

Almost everyone who has spent any serious time on the Peninsula has seen the expanses of flat, treeless, previously developed land at the giant Army base.

Most everyone who has read about the MST project is aware of better alternatives, including space at the Marina Airport, another piece of the former base.

But for reasons not well understood outside county government and MST's administration, the otherwise well-run bus system set its sights on the wrong parcel.

MST officials said the Whispering Oaks site is the best spot from a logistical standpoint, but they have done little or nothing to support the position. They said last week that they have a new study showing that developing the Whispering Oaks site would be less environmentally problematic than building at the airport or several other sites, including the original location at Eighth Avenue and Gigling Road, but they haven't gone out of their way to share the details.

They originally said state and federal grant money used for the expensive site preparation and design work were tied to the Whispering Oaks site, but they have amended that: The money was tied to a Fort Ord location, of which there is no shortage.

The underlying problem is that MST settled on the site through consultation with the county Board of Supervisors, which didn't care for the original site at Eighth Avenue because developers of a proposed horse-themed project nearby aren't about to allow a bus yard in their upscale neighborhood.

As a result, county officials steered MST elsewhere and provided enough assurances about ultimate approval that MST felt comfortable spending bucketloads of taxpayer money on work that shouldn't have been performed until the approvals were signed and sealed.

It will be unfortunate if those millions are wasted, but it is also unfortunate it was an upside-down process that paid no attention to public sentiment.

A lawsuit is already on the books and a referendum is already qualified to kill the project and an adjoining business park. We expect, therefore, the supervisors on Tuesday will attempt to find the best legal strategy rather than the best public policy. Look for them to consider approving the bus project and rejecting the business park, equally unpopular with the public, a move that likely would invalidate the ballot measure.

If that's how it turns out, MST gets what it wants, the supervisors get what they want, the horse park developer gets what it wants, and the public? It gets the shaft.

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Fort Ord Rec Users • forU
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"Individuals and groups with the shared vision to preserve and
enhance recreational use and the natural habitat of the former Fort
Ord for the benefit of all."