Dam traffic to be routed through Sleepy Hollow
Published: October 12, 2012
AFTER A month of public controversy,
allegations of favoritism and threats of lawsuits over the
routing of construction traffic for the removal of San Clemente
Dam through Cachagua instead of Sleepy Hollow, the president of
the Sleepy Hollow homeowners association said Thursday that
residents of that upscale community have agreed to let a
significant amount of the dam-removal traffic go through their
“We met with Cal Am and negotiated how they could use San
Clemente Drive,” said Steve Woolpert of the Sleepy Hollow
association. “We’ve essentially accommodated the project.”
Traffic to the top of the dam will go through Cachagua, while
traffic to the bottom will go through Sleepy Hollow, confirmed
Jeff Szytel of Water Systems Consulting, who is managing the
project for Cal Am.
The agreement between the Sleepy Hollow Homeowners Association
and Cal Am was signed just eight days before the Monterey County
Planning Commission hosted a key hearing on the dam-removal
project Sept. 12. The agreement, reviewed by The Pine Cone
Thursday, makes it clear Cal Am can use Sleepy Hollow’s San
Clemente Drive — with some limitations.
In exchange for Sleepy Hollow’s residents not opposing the
project, as well as the project’s use of San Clemente Drive, Cal
Am agreed that it will not use vehicles heavier than 10 tons on
the road. The water company also consented to limiting traffic
on the road to 120 round trips per month and 30 round trips per
Other conditions Cal Am agreed to include limiting traffic on
San Clemente Drive to 20 mph; limiting traffic to weekdays from
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., not using any area within Sleepy Hollow — or
near the intersection of San Clemente Drive and Carmel Valley
Road — for staging or parking, and implementing a variety of
mitigation measures to reduce the impact of the project on the
Sleepy Hollow community.
If Cal Am doesn’t comply with the road agreement, the water
company has agreed to pay fines for each violation. For
instance, if Cal Am exceeds 120 round trips per month, it would
be fined $500 per extra trip. And if the load of a truck exceeds
10 tons, Cal Am would pay a penalty of $2,500 for each round
Cal Am also agreed to pay for repairs to Tularcitos Creek Bridge and San Clemente Drive for any damage caused by construction traffic.
It’s unclear precisely how much traffic will be routed through
Sleepy Hollow — in part because the project doesn’t have a
contractor yet. “We’re working on construction traffic numbers
now,” Szytel said.
When the project eventually does get started, both the Cachagua
and Sleepy Hollow communities will be significantly impacted by
the project’s traffic.
“There will be some short-term pains, but hopefully, there will
be some long-term gains for everybody,” said Rich Svindland, Cal
Am’s director of engineering, referring to the project’s goals,
which include reducing seismic risks and improving steelhead
According to Svindland, the road agreement was finalized
shortly before the Sept. 12 hearing because “the county needed
proof” that Cal Am could use San Clemente Drive for at least
part of the dam-removal project.
After voicing their opposition to the traffic plan at a Sept.
25 meeting at the Cachagua General Store, residents will get
another chance to comment Wednesday, Oct. 24, when the store
hosts meetings at 1 and 6 p.m. The meetings were originally set
for Oct. 11.
The change of date gives Cal Am two more weeks to weigh
alternatives and mitigation measures in response to residents’
concerns — and provide more details about the volume of traffic
that will impact San Clemente Drive and other Upper Carmel
“We are evaluating additional measures to reduce impacts of the
project to the Cachagua community and need more time to ensure
we are prepared to adequately address residents’ questions and
concerns,” said Catherine Bowie, a Cal Am spokesperson.
Set to begin this fall, the $83 million project can’t get
started until the Monterey County Planning Commission issues a
permit. Most of the actual dismantling of the dam will occur
between 2013 and 2015. The planning commission postponed taking
action on the project Sept. 12.
The Cachagua General Store is located at 18840 Cachagua Road.