A bid to avoid a lengthy permit process for source water sampling for a desalination plant on the Monterey Peninsula will get an expedited review.
Marina officials scheduled a special meeting of the city's Planning Commission to consider whether extracting water from bore holes to determine its mineral content qualifies as a "surface mining operation" under city code.
If the interpretation by California American Water and the state Public Utilities Commission is successful, it would allow the water company to avoid a potentially lengthy coastal development permit process and could allow water sampling to commence before the snowy plover season begins in March.
That, in turn, could allow an earlier release of the project's draft environmental impact report, which was postponed until November by a PUC judge earlier this week.
The special meeting was scheduled for Thursday after Peninsula mayors held a meeting to discuss the project's delays.
Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado said he and City Manager Layne Long agreed to the special Planning Commission meeting in an attempt to speed up the process. He said local officials generally agreed that if Cal Am were required to seek a coastal development permit, the water sampling would be delayed until October.