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June 30, 2012 / Linda Hartong

MAINTAINING THE ESSENCE OF CARMEL

The Carmel Homes Association publishes a wonderful newsletter. I am going through some of the old issues, when I discover this article written  in 2007 by the Association President – Roberta Miller

I am so taken with it that what follows is a quote of her article. I have added my own photos taken over the years.

So here we go. 

President’s Message

Maintaining the Essence of Carmel

2007

by Roberta Miller

“As Monte and I walk around town each day, we are very aware that Carmel is a city in which you can step back in time, revel in its history, traditions, life style, streetscapes and natural beauty.

One of the reasons Carmel is so special is that, for years, Planning Commissions and City Councils have created policies and rules to preserve this village. It is our job to be stewards of these long-held tenets, which are institutionalized in our city code. A commitment to uphold these rules will protect Carmel now and in the future.

I’m hoping that this look at policies, and regulations will be helpful to our new residents and a reminder to old timers. Unique (some), quirky (of course), desirable (all).

We choose the fanciful and unconventional. There are no street addresses in Carmel-by-the-Sea. We enjoy giving geographical directions, for example, Torres 7 SW of 10th Avenue.

Many choose to give their houses names like Sticks and Stones, Tickety-Boo or Will of the Whisp.

Because of our unique addresses, we do not have mail delivery. Long-time residents value their daily trip to the post office for mail and for visiting with fellow Carmelites.


We choose to have a pristine beach.

Fires are allowed between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. south of 10th Avenue.

Smoking is not allowed anytime. (Our monthly Beach Clean-up volunteers appreciate this one). Alcohol is prohibited after 10 p.m.

Dogs can run free on the beach,

but must be on a leash on the upper beach pathway.

And owners must pick up after their pets and deposit the bags in a trash receptacle. Even an occasional horseback rider can be seen trotting by.

We choose nature’s gift. A natural setting,

open space,

an urban forest with trees, trees, trees.

Private landscaping and the public right of way should be designed to blend together in order to preserve significant trees and perpetuate the forest.

Native species — Monterey Pine, Monterey Cypress and Coast Live Oak are encouraged.


We choose uncluttered streetscapes.

Plants should be drought tolerant and native,

informally arranged.

Allowed landscaping in the right of way can include trees, low shrubs, leafy ground cover, plain dirt or pine needles, but no gravel or boulders.

Meandering pathways can be made of dirt, decomposed granite or other soil material.


We choose unique fences and walls. They can be constructed of natural wood (grape stakes are encouraged for that higgledy piggledy look),

wrought iron or masonry made of mortared natural granite, shale, sandstone. Fence heights are limited to four feet adjacent to a public street and to six feet elsewhere. This is to avoid a “tunnel effect” and allows passersby to enjoy the beauty of our neighborhoods and a village-in-the-forest ambiance.


Trash pick up in the residential district is once a week. Your containers will be taken from their normal place (away from the streetscape), emptied and returned to the original location.

We choose to be in the dark.

We fancy our clear view of the night sky without interference from man-made lighting.

Our residential outdoor lighting code requires 25-watt light bulbs per fixture.

Walkway or landscaping lights are limited to 15 watts. Floodlights are not allowed (e.g. motion detectors) on trees, fences or walls. Holiday lights are permitted from the 15th of November until the 10th of January.

We choose tranquility and peaceful village living. Therefore, home construction in residential areas is only allowed from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Normal neighborhood sounds of power mowers, home workshops, vehicle repairs, etc., are allowed only from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Only electric leaf blowers are allowed.

The late Bob Campbell once remarked that, “the special charm of Carmel-by-the-Sea depends as much upon what it doesn’t have as upon what it does have.” If we choose to honor our codes and take responsibility for compliance, we will contribute mightily to keeping our identity and remain true to our founders. What an opportunity to do something that is absolutely right.”

Well said, Roberta.

9 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Annie Westlake, / Jun 30 2012 1:31 am

    I promise to faithfully follow, abide by and embrace all of the ordinances, regulations and wishes of the citizenry of Carmel……just as soon as I am able to realize my dream of living there. Nice piece, Linda. Love the way you have enhanced the words with your pictures.

  2. Mara / Jun 30 2012 1:51 am

    This was fascinating to learn. My friend and I were trying to put our finger on what made Carmel so special and you have done it for us!

  3. Julie Keeter / Jun 30 2012 6:51 pm

    Dear Linda, No words to adequately express how much I love your blog. I have visited Carmel and the area for over 20 years and no one does a better job of capturing it’s alluring essence, uniqueness and charm as do you. Thank you so much for the time you put into sharing your beautiful photos and stories with all of us who live vicariously through them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  4. Nita@ModVintageLife / Jun 30 2012 7:56 pm

    A magical place. As much as I hate rules…they do come in handy when keeping a neighborhood nice. Seems the only ones with a problem with it are the ones that the rules were made to keep under control.

  5. tammy j / Jul 1 2012 3:18 pm

    i needed this post this morning. with a world in chaos (i keep saying i will never watch the news again)
    it is such a sheer relief to spend a moment with you in a place that values the intangibles… peace…
    cleanliness… privacy… beauty… nature… conservancy… quirkiness… individuality… charm…
    thank you as always, dear heart.
    you give a little gift with each post.
    tammy j

  6. Sonia / Jul 3 2012 2:59 pm

    That is why Carmel is so enchanting! Love your pictures and such interesting information!
    Miss Bloomers

  7. Inspired and pretty / Jul 9 2012 2:57 am

    Oh Linda…I adored this post ! The wonderful images gave me goosebumps ! Carmel is such a unique village and I agree with all the regulations. When I saw the photos of the beach I was in awe and I gasped at the sunset photos. The beach is magnificent and IMG 7961 is sooo beautiful. What would I give to walk on that beach… I LOVED the photos of the dogs and the majestic trees everywhere….sigh… ! I also love the architecture of the homes, the cottages are so pretty. Carmel By The Sea is now on my list of places to visit. I really do hope I can go on a vacation someday !

  8. Fred carver / Jul 3 2016 11:41 pm

    Where can i purchase the lantern green and orange ?

    • Linda Hartong / Jul 5 2016 9:10 pm

      This is very old and there is probably not another like it.

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