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Clint Eastwood Launches Sustainable Community
When Clint Eastwood utters this four-letter word, people stop and listen.

That word isn’t “%&@)&*%!”- one of the many signature expressions of renegade cop Dirty Harry (“Make my day…”) Callahan. Nor is it “jazz” or “golf,” as those more familiar with the storied career of the accomplished actor, director, musician and politician might surmise.

Rather, the word is “land,” or more specifically, “abundance of land” – something dear to the iconic actor’s heart. Eastwood has long had a reverence for the land and a fervent belief in the concept of regenerative design. Since directing Play Misty for Me against the lush backdrop of California’s Monterey Peninsula, he has nurtured a vision for a residential community that would serve as a sanctuary for those who combine a love for the land with a desire to replenish the natural resources being depleted from such natural settings as his beloved Carmel.

Today, Eastwood has realized that vision at Tehama, a 2,000-acre residential community nestled in the hills above Carmel. Taking its name from the Native American word meaning “abundance of nature,” Tehama is Eastwood’s distinctive take on sustainable development. With 85% of the land dedicated to open space, the community is a “sustainable destination” that will give more back to the environment than it takes away, asserts architect Mike Waxer, vice president at Carmel Development. The goal, Waxer explains, is to eliminate waste and produce a positive - rather than negative or neutral - impact on the setting.

Among the ecological milestones at Tehama:

  • Near the south entrance to the community sits an organic farm that produces fresh certified organic produce on Tehama land that has been set aside for this purpose in perpetuity. The organic farm stand, now open year-round for area and community residents alike, is a recycled building that was moved from Eastwood’s Mission Ranch.

  • Two water treatment plants camouflaged as quaint red barns efficiently serve the water needs of the Tehama community. In one, water from on-site wells is processed through an ultra-filtration system and then delivered to homes for drinking water and other household needs. In the other, wastewater is converted into reclaimed water that is used to irrigate the Tehama Golf course. A large retention pond off the 13th fairway serves the wildlife as much as it does the course itself. Through this type of balanced planning, the water supply at Tehama is self-sustaining and plentiful.

  • Tehama has become a model project in California for the restoration of indigenous plant life. Soon, the community will offer residents a living laboratory of native trees, grasses and other plants to aid in their home landscaping decisions. More than 10 years ago, Tehama developers began germinating these plants from native seeds collected on the property. Today, the trees are maturing in an on-site nursery, ready to be incorporated into residents’ landscape designs. This has the added benefit of preventing the introduction of outside pathogens that could harm indigenous plant life and animals.

  • Tehama’s developers have also made the local, lightweight Carmel stone excavated on its home sites available to residents for use in home building and design. Like the nursery trees, the Carmel stone is offered at below-market prices, encouraging residents to use native materials appropriate to the land.

Eastwood’s vision also calls for wind turbines and solar thermal collectors to be installed throughout Tehama. "We want to be a net exporter of energy into the community," says Waxer. The community is on its way to becoming an oxygen exporter, given the projected ratio of trees to people and wildlife. And thanks to its advanced waste-processing system, which allows for the reclamation of water, Tehama is “returning more water to the community than if we weren’t there,” adds Waxer.

We’d like to invite you to visit Tehama, where “abundance of nature” thrives and regenerative design is the law of the land. If you’re unable to visit the exclusive custom home community, which includes 90 custom estate home sites priced from $2.5 million, we hope you’ll consider developing an article on Eastwood’s unique approach to environmentally sound community development.

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