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EIR may be needed for P.G. car event


Published: February 27, 2009

CHANCES ARE slim to none the posh Concorso Italiano car event will come to Pacific Grove this year, despite a push by the chamber of commerce to overcome council opposition and bring it to the city.

Chamber of commerce president Moe Ammar said the main reason the show — which attracts hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators — is in jeopardy is that an environmental impact report might be needed before it can be permitted to move to P.G.

Not only might that cost a lot of money, but the environmental review process could take months, Ammar said, which wouldn’t give organizers enough time to pull the event together.

“With all the requirements with getting a permit,” Ammar said, “it’s highly unlikely the event will happen this year.”

This is the second year in a row the city has failed to draw Concorso Italiano to Pacific Grove, where it would be held on the city’s golf links.

In 2008, the city council said it didn’t want the Concorso to move to town because of concerns about golf-course damage from cars, traffic and other issues. But with the city’s economy hurting because of the global downturn, Ammar believes the council would change its mind.

Organizers of Concorso Italiano, which typically draws about 10,000 people, would have paid the city about $78,000 for the event.

The car show could have also brought scores of people to patronize P.G. shops, restaurants and inns.

But the car event is subject to a review under the California Environmental Quality Act, according to city attorney David Laredo. Laredo said it was too early to determine whether the event would have to undergo a lengthy environmental impact report.

Still, Ammar said any CEQA process would take too long to have the car show ready to go by the summer. The car event was to be held at fairways 10 to 18, and on the driving range.

Concorso Italiano’s website says the auto event, dubbed “A Celebration of Italian Style,” will be held Aug. 13-14 at the Marina Municipal Airport. Officials announced Thursday that a group headed by Tom McDowell has purchased Concorso.The city council is scheduled to discuss the Concorso at next Wednesday’s meeting.

Ammar said he will continue to work with organizers to bring the event to the city.

“We can’t give up,” he said.