Milestones Accomplished Thus Far
The board has been working tirelessly to accomplish all of the items on the checklist required by the city to get Ryan Ranch Disc Golf Course back up and running. The goal of these checklist items is so the city can limit their liability, and also ensure the sustained longevity of the course so none of these issues pop up in the future. The items accomplished so far and in order of the timeline of events are as follows:
- Met with city staff to determine feasibility of Ryan Ranch DGC being reinstated, they agreed it was feasible and are working with the club to get the course back to its original state. The city needs to work with the club to accomplish a long checklist of items to ensure disc golf can remain at Ryan Ranch Park.
- City staff hired an outside consultant to perform an environmental review of Ryan Ranch Park to determine if disc golf would have an impact on the environment. The city paid for this important review to happen and coordinated all steps necessary in order for it to be officially recognized.
- The city sent notice to local tribe counsels to ensure disc golf does not impact any of their concerns with the land. They were given the required 30 day notice to respond and nothing was reported.
- City staff conducted an accessibility assessment of Ryan Ranch DGC and created a proposal for ADA improvements to be made so that the course is deemed accessible and can avoid future issues with ADA compliance. The ADA improvement project proposal was sent to the Monterey Stinging Jellies board for review. The only areas affected are a small portion of the parking lot and hole #1.
- The board spoke on behalf of Ryan Ranch DGC to the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) in an effort to get disc golf recognized as a “passive recreational sport” that does not interfere with their master plan. The ALUC recognized the board’s efforts and voted all in favor of disc golf being allowed at Ryan Ranch Park. This was a huge step, because as the board learned throughout this process, this ALUC Master Plan takes precedent over the Monterey City Master Plan. The land is really unable to be used due to the restrictions from the ALUC, and because of its proximity to the airport, so the commissioners agreed disc golf would be a perfect fit for that space.
- The board spoke on behalf of Ryan Ranch DGC to the Monterey Parks Commission in an effort to get disc golf recognized as a formal program that is feasible to operate at Ryan Ranch Park. The commission was in overwhelming favor of disc golf remaining at Ryan Ranch, and actually insisted the city staff work diligently to bring disc golf back as soon as possible.
- The environmental review was completed and the Mitigated Negative Declaration was formally posted for review by the public. It was allowed 60 days to be reviewed and challenged. It was not, so it moved onto city council for final acknowledgement.
- With ADA compliance being the next large obstacle, the board spoke with legal counsel and California Accessibility Specialists (CASP) to determine if the project proposal submitted by the city to the club was the most cost effective option. The board worked to develop an alternative proposal for the accessibility improvements in an effort to reduce the cost of the improvements so that the club can cover the costs and expedite this process. If the board did not create an alternative, the club would not have been able to afford the original proposal, which means either the city would have to build it into their budget, which could take up to 2 years. Or, the club would have to apply for and win a local grant, which could take anywhere from 1 – 3 years.
- The board met with city staff and ADA specialists to determine feasibility of the ADA alternative proposal. City staff acknowledged it looks doable, but needed to reference more ADA counsel before accepting.
- The Monterey city council approved the findings from the Mitigated Negative Declaration report to officially acknowledge that disc golf is a feasible use of the space at Ryan Ranch Park, and with mitigation, poses no threat to the local environment.
The board now has to agree with city staff on a plan for ADA. It is the hope of the board that they accept the proposed alternative. If they do and the alternative proposal is less than $15k, then the city will put the project out to bid. Once a bid is accepted they can move forward with construction of ADA improvements, which will only affect a small area of the parking lot and hole #1.
After this, the board will be ready to construct a use agreement with the city. The city needs ADA to be addressed before this can happen, along with all other milestones that have been accomplished. Once the use agreement is in place, baskets can be reinstalled and disc golf can continue at Ryan Ranch Disc Golf Course.
The Monterey Herald also posted this article regarding the process and recent accomplishments thus far.
City Council Passes Mitigated Negative Declaration
The city council meeting on 11.05.19 is where the council approved, unanimously, the Mitigated Negative Declaration (environmental report) for Ryan Ranch Park. This means the city now formally recognized the findings of the report, which are in favor of disc golf remaining on the property.
This was a big milestone for us, but more importantly, are the club’s next steps. For those of you who attend the club meetings, you know the following details, but here is a quick synopsis.
- The city of Monterey is looking to add disc golf as a program to Ryan Ranch Park
- We have been informally operating out there for years, which is why the city is taking steps to ensure our longevity, once reinstated
- In order to enter into a use agreement with the city, Parks & Rec must check off a bunch of items in preparation (Enviro report, Airport Land Use Commissions, Parks Commission, ADA, etc.)
- As you know from updates on this page, we have completed all of the necessary steps thus far, besides ADA
- ADA is a major necessity in city sponsored programs, which “disc golf” falls under
- Next steps are developing an ADA plan for the parking lot and hole 1 area of Ryan Ranch, no other parts of the course need to be accessible
- The city has already spent its time and money to develop a project map for the ADA improvements, which was presented at the recent club meeting
Some good news on the ADA front is that the board has prepared an alternative to the city’s ADA proposal with the help of legal counsel. The board met with the city earlier this week and city staff acknowledged that the alternative proposal from the board is feasible. The main purpose of the alternative proposal is to reduce the cost of construction for the ADA requirements.
The city’s current proposal is ball parked at around $40-50k, meaning it would take a long time for the city to build this into their budget, or for the club to obtain funds from eligible grants. The club’s new alternative proposal is ball parked around $10-15k, which is a cost the board feels the club can cover (with help of private funding, of course). If we can get the cost down to $15k or less, this will help expedite the process exponentially. At this point, we are in negotiations with the city on the alternative proposal. Our hope is that they can confirm our alternative plan, put the project out to bid, and we find a contractor who can accomplish this for less than 15k. As soon as the board knows more we will make an announcement.
Original Story Regarding Course Closure
The City of Monterey proposed the development of solar panels on a portion of the Ryan Ranch Disc Golf Course in the beginning of 2017. It was early in 2018 that this proposal was presented to city council. The board of directors for the Monterey Stinging Jellies Disc Golf Club (MSJDGC) worked with the city in an effort to allow the disc golf course to remain on the property in tandem with the solar panels if the solar project was imminent. This attempt to work with the city was unnecessary as to the solar panel project was unanimously voted down by city council in mid-2018. At the same time the presence of disc golf at Ryan Ranch was brought to light to the new city staff members, who were unaware of the expansion of the course and club at the time.
Recently, the disc golf course has received a lot of attention. During the exploratory process of the solar project the city learned that there was not a formal user agreement in place with the club and its course at Ryan Ranch. Since then, the City of Monterey has expressed interest in keeping disc golf in Monterey. Though they have stated they will have to follow all necessary steps and procedures, as required by all city governments, as a user agreement is formulated for the property.
The city has ordered the club to cease and desist all disc golf operations at Ryan Ranch effective immediately. The original cease and desist order came with the requirements that the club remove all equipment at Ryan Ranch Park, which includes: baskets, tee pads, tee signs, kiosks, fences, and any other property installed by the club. Since then, the board of directors for the Monterey Stinging Jellies Disc Golf Club has negotiated with the city to require only the baskets be removed during this user agreement formulation process. The city admits this will be a lengthy process, as they are forced to complete their due diligence to mitigate any potential risk.
The goal of the Monterey Stinging Jellies Disc Golf Club has always been to cultivate and grow disc golf on the Monterey Peninsula. We have also had the goal of entering into a user agreement with the City of Monterey to protect our club’s course moving forward. These are the beginning steps necessary to accomplish this goal.
For updates on Facebook, please join the group “Ryan Ranch Disc Golf Course Updates“.