pajaro farmworker housing
A big-rig rolls along Riverside Drive past the end of Susan Street in Pajaro. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

PAJARO—A group of Pajaro neighbors has filed a lawsuit against a developer, the County of Monterey and its Board of Supervisors, challenging an agricultural workforce housing project in Pajaro that would place 45 units on Susan Street, a dead-end road in the rural agricultural area.

The group—calling itself Pajaro Community Matters—says the Supervisors violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when they approved a mitigated negative declaration for the project.

Residents near the 3.41-acre property in the area of Susan and Gonda streets have expressed concern about the project since it was introduced in February 2022, saying it is likely to substantially alter the small, tight-knit community and impact traffic and parking on the narrow road.

In the court filing, the group says the developer Rio Vista Group LLC did not adequately analyze the project’s environmental impacts, including on the water supplies and evacuation routes.

“The County ultimately violated CEQA by failing to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (‘EIR’) because substantial evidence in the record supports a conclusion that the Project may cause one or more significant impacts on the environment,” the court documents state.

Originally proposed with 60 units, the project was amended after it was initially denied by the Monterey County Planning Commission in September. It now features three, two-story apartment buildings with a total of 45 units, each of which has eight beds.

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved the project in December.

The project also includes 95 parking spaces, a 975-square-foot recreation room, 925 square feet of outdoor seating areas and a 3,074-square-foot multi-use court.

Susan Street is just 35 feet wide, with 19 residences and one commercial lot. With street side parking, passenger cars can pass each other with about 7-foot clearance. But the traffic projected from the buses that would transport the workers would make such passage difficult, neighbors say.

Residents also say they are concerned about water usage that would come from the housing units, which is a particular concern for the already overdrafted aquifer. 

The County’s usage estimate of 17.9 acre-feet per year is based on the assumption that the housing would be seasonal, but Rio Vista is not required to house only seasonal workers.

Instead, Pajaro Community Matters estimates the housing development will use 20.2 acre-feet per year. 

Previous articleBill would tighten rules on gun ownership in California
Next articleLetter: PVUSD Board wise to appoint member
General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA.


  1. there must be room for the busses, enough water for all, and all services that people need nearby. we do not want to replicate want exists for mushroom workers in Half Moon Bay. we can do better.

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes
  2. Unbelievable that ST would even think of equating this potential development with the tragedy in Half Moon Bay. It reveals his lack of character more than anything. Yes we can do better than ST. He is still unable to punctuate a sentence, sad (and revealing).

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - No


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here