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FAQ’s

Many of the same resident questions have come to DMFPO over the years which we answer either orally at our semi-annual meetings or in print in the Forest News. Other pamphlets published by DMFPO, Pebble Beach Company, Pebble Beach Community Services District, the Del Monte Forest Foundation, and other organizations have also addressed some of the issues in various forms.

This webpage will serve as a repository and reference to which we will accumulate answers to frequently asked questions as we can develop them. Currently, these questions and answers appear in no particular order. If you need further information, please call the DMFPO office at 831-373-1618 or send an email to us at office@dmfpo.org.

What are the allowable hours of construction and/or noise in the Forest?

ARB construction standards restrict building activity to Mon-Sat, 8:00a — 6:00p, with no work allowed on Sundays and federal holidays. Owners should inform their construction and landscaping contractors of the restrictions, preferably in the contract language so there’s no misunderstanding. Homeowners themselves have some latitude in the restrictions, particularly if the work is indoors and the noise can be controlled.

The guiding principle should be a good neighbor policy, respecting neighbors’ desire for quiet, and in return, respecting a neighbor’s use of their property to pursue personal interests. If noise is excessive and the neighbor is unresponsive to your personal request for relief, contact the ARB or, if after hours, call the Sheriff. Sheriff’s non-emergency number: 647-7911

Do we have video surveillance of gate traffic?

Yes, Pebble Beach Company records video of gate traffic and it’s made available to police on request.

What can be done to restrict non-resident vehicle access, particularly at night?

Tourist traffic and contractors are not admitted at night, except to provide emergency repairs, like a water leak, etc. Residents with emblems or passes and cleared guests whose names have been given to PB Security are admitted. The resident guest clearance phone number is 624-0123. During the day, contractors and delivery trucks are generally waved through to avoid backups at the gates and guards often get to know the “regulars.”

Can radar be used when the speed limit is 25 mph? A news report said that a speed limit somewhere was raised to 30 mph in order to use radar.

There are a number of technical legal requirements to warrant a particular speed limit, and still more requirements to use radar for posted speed limit enforcement. Particularly in the Forest, the overriding consideration is the safe speed for the road and driving conditions, regardless of posted limit. We have been told by both CHP and the Sheriff’s Office that radar and officer estimated speeds can be used to issue tickets for driving too fast for conditions.

Are there smoking restrictions in the Forest?

Smoking is not allowed in the Huckleberry Hill Natural Area and other forested areas and trails as marked. Owing to the difficulty to enforce and the hazard from lighted cigarettes dropped from vehicles or pedestrians on roads, the Forest’s Fire Defense Plan imposes vegetation management standards on property owners to provide defensible space around structures.

To whom do we report past tense crime and situations that are NOT an emergency?

Del Monte Forest is a part of Monterey County, so police matters are handled by the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office. Their non-emergency phone number is 647-7911. Incident Report forms are also available on the Sheriff’s Office website: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/sheriff/forms.htm

What should we do if we think a tree on or near our property is dying?

Many of the trees in the Forest are of an age where they are showing signs of decline. The canopy should show good green color with healthy looking needles and few dead branches. The trunk should not have any sign of decay or cracks. If trees show a change in needle color or canopy cover, residents should call PBC Forestry at 625-8414 to report the tree. If it’s on private property, Forestry will evaluate the tree and, if appropriate, advise the resident as to the process for removal.

Similar advice applies to trees that may appear in danger of falling. All trees, including healthy ones, have the potential to fall if the winds are strong enough. Residents should monitor the ground around the base of the tree to look for cracking of the soil or a recent severe lean. Trimming 1/3 of the canopy in the late fall or early winter by a certified arborist will help reduce the sail and wind throw. Dead branches should also be removed as they can break and cause damage.

Residents should remember that a permit is required for all removals of native species of trees. In addition, homes in the coastal zone may require a Monterey County permit.

What should we do if the roots of a tree start tearing up a driveway?

Cracks in the driveway may be caused by water and age in addition to roots. PBC Forestry recommends that the surface be removed so the roots can be inspected before condemning a tree. Frequently the cracks are caused by small surface roots that can be removed prior to the new surface being laid. They also recommend inspection of the trees prior to the removal of the surface to ensure the trees will not be harmed by the demolition

Residents should remember that a permit is required for all removals of native species of trees. In addition, homes in the coastal zone may require a Monterey County permit.

Wouldn't it be better if the utilities were underground in the Forest?

Are there lower golf fees for residents on PB courses?

Yes, current PBC business practice allows residents to make a limited number of golf reservations without the normal hotel reservation, and includes a golf cart in the fee (which other non-resort guests pay for). Locals also can purchase a Duke’s Card membership which provides lower golf rates at times. Finally, in conjunction with the DMFPO, PBC hosts an annual DMFPO shotgun tournament and reception at which DMFPO members play at reduced rates with a guest.

What can we do when our street is blocked by construction vehicles?

Background:

The “Architectural Standards and Residential Guidelines for Del Monte Forest (Jan 2002)” published by Pebble Beach Company (PBC) contains “Construction Regulations” that apply within the Forest. They relate to building permits, construction trash, excavation and grading, parking, protection of property, temporary structures, water connection and toilets, working hours, as well as construction site signage and protection of trees.

The parking regulation states that “All construction vehicles shall be contained on the property for which a building permit has been issued. Vehicles may not be parked in any location which blocks or hinders traffic, either on or off the building site.”

Communication of the ‘Standards and Guidelines’ normally occurs during the review of construction plans by the Del Monte Forest Architectural Review Board (ARB). The Manager of ARB is the primary contact between PBC, the property owner, the architect, and the general contractor on construction site activity within the Forest. Each is provided a copy of the current Jobsite Conditions, a flyer which addresses the Construction Regulations. Jobsite Conditions must be communicated to all employees, subcontractors, and any others that generate jobsite traffic.

Construction Regulations notwithstanding, it is clear that the street and lot layout in the Forest is not ideal for construction activity. During large extended projects, it is reasonable for some contractors to leave a job trailer on or at the construction site for the period of their work. It is also normal for there to be periods when numerous vehicles must be present at the same time — more than can reasonably fit within the construction site, especially in the Country Club area. Some leeway is necessary to allow the contractors to work as efficiently as possible. Rigid enforcement of the parking regulation can lead to construction delays, which increase cost for the property owner and impose longer periods of disruption for the surrounding neighborhood. Good judgment and cooperation are necessary by all to avoid adverse experiences.

What to Do:

  1. As always, if you feel a situation constitutes an emergency or is otherwise urgent, call 9-1-1.
  2. Be understanding. We must all respect the right for owners to develop their property, but in return, neighbors should expect courtesy and respect for their equal rights to convenient use of their property. It’s a mutual responsibility. Friendly conversation among neighbors based on respect leads to the best solution to neighborhood issues and should be the first recourse.
  3. If a street is repeatedly or continuously blocked to such an extent that substantial delay in passing a construction site is unavoidable, and a direct neighborly appeal has been tried and is unsuccessful,
Pebble Beach Company Security 625-8428
will respond to a complaint and address the situation. Security can determine whether or not there is a safety hazard on PBC’s road right-of-way or a violation of Construction Regulations on the site and make appropriate notifications to the CHP, Sheriff’s Office, PB Fire Department, or the ARB. Most blockage situations will be resolved before this step is necessary.
  • If there is not a satisfactory solution within a reasonable time after PBC Security has become involved, DMF residents themselves can call the non-emergency lines of eitherCalifornia Highway Patrol 796-2160 orMonterey County Sheriff’s Office 647-7911with the specific location and vehicle(s) causing the perceived problem. These agencies will respond as priorities allow and determine if there are any violations of the Vehicle Code or other statute. Law enforcement agencies have the authority to deal with violations decisively.
  • Concurrently, please report any action you take to theDel Monte Forest Property Owners 373-1618 orPB Community Services District 373-1274to enable the Traffic/Safety Committee to track occurrences.
    In addition, all construction site issues should be reported to:DMF Architectural Review 625-8455.

What is the speed limit on DMF roads?

All DMF roads (except those marked by exemption signs immediately around the Lodge) are subject to the California Vehicle Code (CVC) and have a speed limit determined by either a posted 25 mph limit or the basic speed law.

The posted 25 mph limits are determined by a complicated process defined in the CVC involving a sanctioned speed survey and a technical definition of a residential district. While some short sections of some DMF roads might potentially qualify for a posted speed limit somewhat higher than 25 mph, they have not been separately surveyed since it would be disruptive to change the limit frequently on the same road: it would create confusion and unsightliness and not offer any real advantage.

The basic speed law limit in the Forest is the maximum safe speed for the present conditions. Those conditions include elements which limit sight distance (e.g., light conditions, fog, rain, snow, smoke, hills, curves, vegetation, parked vehicles, etc.), controllability (e.g., slippery pavement, road condition, vehicle malfunction, etc.), or other extenuating circumstances (e.g., vehicle or pedestrian traffic, driver distraction, alien invasion, etc.).

It’s worth pointing out that the basic speed law trumps a posted limit. If your speed is greater than what the officer observing you thinks is safe for the conditions, you can be cited whether a limit is posted or not.

A retired CHP officer that regularly patrolled here once offered the opinion that there was no place in DMF where speed in excess of 35 mph was safe under any conditions. DMFPO endorses that opinion and emphasizes the number of factors that reduce the safe speed to something closer to 25 mph almost everywhere, almost all the time – even though such opinions are not a constraint on current CHP officers.

It’s also worth pointing out that Pebble Beach Company employees are directed by their top management to never exceed 35 mph in the Forest.

The issue is safety. Most officers will allow for some minor transgression of a posted limit if they feel safety is not threatened. But don’t count on any specific number. The best advice is to err on the side of caution to avoid having to plead your case before a court. DMF is only a few miles across and time saved by speeding can only be a matter of seconds: it’s hardly worth the risk.

What is Pebble Beach Community Services District ("PBCSD")?

Pebble Beach Community Services District (“PBCSD”) is the local government of Pebble Beach which provides the following services:

  • Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services
  • Supplemental Law Enforcement
  • Wastewater Collection and Treatment
  • Recycled Water Distribution
  • Garbage Collection, Disposal, and Recycling

Visit www.pbcsd.org for more information.

Can property owners look forward to fire fuel reduction in the Forest?

Fire Safety in Del Monte Forest

DMFPO has likewise been interested in fire safety, particularly in avoiding the catastrophic consequences of fire we experienced in the 1987 Morse Fire here in Del Monte Forest (DMF). The Pebble Beach Community Services District (PBCSD) is centrally involved in providing fire protection services in Del Monte Forest and is the authoritative source for such information; however, here is some broad background on the issue for you.

DMFPO is completely supportive of the effort that has been progressing for the past 20 years at the District to improve the ability of firefighters to combat both structural and wildland fires in the Forest. The Angora Fire at Lake Tahoe and the recent, multiple fires in southern California have again brought into focus the nature of the hazard of wildland fire, once it starts. We are fortunate that our central coast climate does not create anywhere near as many hazardous days as exist in those areas.

Nevertheless, as the Morse fire proved, fire can occur here. To respond to the issues brought out in the FEMA post-event report on the Morse Fire, just about every possible step has already been taken in Fire Department operations, equipment upgrades, water supply reliability, building code upgrades, and lot clearance standards. The last and most difficult step that remains is reduction of the fire fuel build-up in the interior part of the forested areas, as the question points out.

Strictly speaking, DMFPO cannot “do” anything with the fire fuel in the forest since the property is privately owned by Pebble Beach Company (PBC), Del Monte Forest Conservancy (DMFC), the Northern California Golf Association, Stevenson School, two country clubs, individual residents, and others. However, we have representatives on the DMF Open Space Advisory Committee, which provides an organized recommendation of Forest maintenance policies for PBC and DMFF, the two largest landowners, and contributes to the DMF Fire Defense Plan.

Numerous environmental regulations from the County and Coastal Commission place restrictions on disruption of specific plants and animals that exist in the Forest, thus inhibiting the owners from actions in the designated habitat without prolonged and expensive environmental review. Indeed, the Coastal Commission staff has recommended that Monterey Pine, itself, be designated as Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA), which would virtually eliminate removal of any of those trees in the Coastal Zone.

Despite the limitations, PBC has been removing fire fuel along their road right-of-ways and utilizing goats to reduce the underbrush in parts of the Forest that are not laden with endangered plants. That work is planned to continue. Further, PBCSD has supported the Fire Dept to employ the Gabilan work crews to do hand clearing of undergrowth in the wildland-urban interface at the top of the Huckleberry Hill Natural Area along Los Altos Drive and along the fire roads and sewer easements behind homes above Pescadero Canyon. Those activities will also continue.

DMFPO is trying to raise property owners’ awareness of the fire hazard from the interior parts of the Forest through newsletter articles and discussions at the semiannual meetings. There is no more important issue for DMF property owners than fire safety, given our proximity to forested wildland and the evidence of hazard so apparent throughout the state.

But who is to do what?

There are numerous articles describing the wildland fire problem, and suggestions for corrective action, but it is a statewide (perhaps national) issue that may well require new legislative action. We need to resolve the conflict in priorities of public policy for fire safety and environmental protection before any additional measures of significance can be implemented here in DMF. Such action has had and continues to have gubernatorial level Fire Commission attention, but the legislature has not yet followed the recommendations of the experts. Statewide public pressure may be necessary to spur action.

The conclusion one must reach at this time is that defensive measures in home construction materials/techniques plus implementation of the 100 ft defensible space CALFIRE program are absolutely essential to fire safety. Additional work in the Forest interior is also essential to reduce the hazard to a reasonable level (and improve the long term health of the Forest) but that will take time and effort, and require political courage from our state lawmakers.

Of course, the ultimate fire protection for property will always be a good insurance policy.

The State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Benefit Fee Enacted 2012

By Don Eastman, President of the Board, Del Monte Forest Property Owners
Q: What is the Fire Prevention Fee?
A: The State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Benefit Fee was enacted following the signing of Assembly Bill X1 29 in July, 2011. The law approved the new annual Fire Prevention Fee to pay for fire prevention services within the SRA. The fee is applied to all habitable structures within the SRA. The fee is levied at the rate of $150 per habitable structure, which is designated as a building that can be occupied for residential use. Owners of habitable structures who are also within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency will receive a reduction of $35 per habitable structure. The fee will fund a variety of fire prevention services within the SRA including brush clearance around communities on public lands, along roadways and evacuation routes; and activities to improve forest health so the forest can better withstand wildfire.  More..

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