Community Housing and Visitor-Serving Infrastructure
The need for community housing in Big Sur is acute and it has been an organizational priority of CABS for at least a decade. Big Sur has endured a steady assault on the viability of its residential community. With each sustained highway closure, another Big Sur family is faced with the choice of whether to home school, board their children with friends or move away. With three fires in ten years, perhaps as many as 150 homes and separate living situations have gone up in flames. Most of those homes are yet to be rebuilt with residents leaving the community, unlikely to ever move back.
CABS supported housing initiatives in our community over the past 10 years:
- We voiced our support for Post Ranch’s staff housing expansion.
- We support the BSLUP update language that encourages grandfathering existing legal non-conforming accessory buildings as housing for people working in Big Sur.
- CABS provided capital to help purchase a modular “Cavco” housing unit for the Superintendent of Pacific Valley School.
In 2018, we took a significant step forward in our search for a housing solution. We entered escrow to purchase an 18-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Captain Cooper School for developing community housing. The process brought together a flexible, community-minded seller, acquisition expertise and advice from the Big Sur Land Trust and Community Foundation for Monterey County, financial support from the Big Sur business community, in kind contributions from Grice Engineering, Whitson Engineers and Fred Ballerini Consulting and development financing guidance from Legacyworks Group and CHISPA’s Executive Director, Alfred Diaz Infante. While our diligence revealed that the parcel was not a good fit for housing, we believe this collaborative dry run will prove valuable, going forward.
Many in the Big Sur community look at the vacant housing at the Point Sur Naval Facility (NAVFAC) and wonder why this potential community asset is not being put to good use. We wondered too and decided to initiate conversations with key stakeholders.
Preliminary discussions, with no outcomes or promises made or implied, have occurred with local State Parks leadership, State Senator Bill Monning, El Sur Ranch, the Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers and others in the community to seed the idea of a public/private partnership to revive the Facility.
It is our intent to leverage the Big Sur Destination Stewardship Project to address housing and visitor-serving infrastructure strategies by potentially recommending the NAVFAC as a favored location for community housing, among other uses.