About the Carmel Residents Association

Established in 1987, the Carmel Residents Association is a civic, service, social and, when necessary, a political organization whose members are determined to keep Carmel-by-the-Sea a great place in which to live, play, work or visit. The CRA is a civic non-profit 501(c)(4) Public Benefit Corporation incorporated according to the laws of the State of California.

CRA follows a long tradition of other volunteer organizations that, for 75 years, have taken the lead in protecting our community against over commercialization. A large hotel planned for Carmel beach, for example, which would kill the proverbial golden goose. We believe, as our City Charter says, that Carmel “... is primarily, essentially and predominately a residential community.”

MISSIONThe Carmel Residents Association is committed to the protection and enrichment of the traditional quality of life in Carmel-by-the-Sea and the preservation of its heritage and natural beauty through education, community activities and advocacy.


With over 850 members, the CRA is the largest residents organization in Carmel. Any resident or homeowner living in Carmel or its sphere of influence who believes it is important to preserve our quality of life is welcome to join. Yes, this includes those that rent and those living in Carmel Woods, Carmel Fields, Carmel Valley, Carmel Highlands, Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove and beyond. We also welcome local business owners. 

The CRA membership mirrors the demographic makeup of Carmel. Historically, most tend to be retired. However, we have more young professionals and even families with young children joining. The membership runs the gamut—old time and newer Carmel residents, retired professors, professionals, artists, authors, corporate executives, newspaper people, former college presidents, retired military officers, a retired museum director, a retired veterinarian and everything in between. They are positive, intelligent individuals who want to use and share the abilities gained throughout their lives and to give something back to this community which they love so much.


CRA meetings are open to the public and feature speakers of local interest as well as panel discussions on important issues. CRA members give generously of their time and talent and are represented on the City Council and every City Commission.

Our members regularly attend City Council, Planning, Historic Resources, Forest and Beach and Community Activity Commission meetings and often speak out on issues of significance to residents. The CRA sponsors impartial, public candidates’ forums in conjunction with local elections wherein residents have the opportunity to hear and question candidates for city and county offices.


The CRA has an organization called CRA Carmel Beach Clean Up which supervises a very successful volunteer beach cleanup program to maintain the pristine Carmel City beach for over 30 years!

Our members often extend the first hand of friendship to visitors entering Carmel, setting the tone for their visit. They are the ones out walking on the street, often with their dogs, who stop to answer the typical question such as “Where is the beach?”, “Where is the Hog’s Breath?”, “How can I get to the Mission?” and “What restaurant would you recommend?”.


Throughout the year, the CRA sponsors educational programs that cover subjects important to the Village. This includes subjects related to our history, environmental issues, or speakers who have made a big impact on our community. They can take for form of individual speakers or a panel discussion. We also sponsor candidate forums during election years and partner with other groups in the Village to hold town halls on important and timely issues. Most of the programs are held in the Carmel Womans Club.


Throughout the year, the CRA sets up a "No-Host" gathering which feature local restaurants - for a mix and mingle, while you enjoy food and beverage from their menus. 

Every other February, all Carmel organizations and individuals are invited to nominate a Carmel resident, not necessarily a CRA member, to be given the “Citizen of the Year Award.” A selection committee carefully screens the many nominations. The winner is announced at the Citizen of the Year Celebration held at the Women’s Club, where a bountiful buffet is provided.  Every other summer, the CRA holds an event, now called the Feast in the Forest, at the Indian Village in Pebble Beach.   And annually we host a splendid Christmas Gala dinner is held annually at the beautifully decorated La Playa Hotel.


The CRA publishes a bi-monthly printed newsletter called The Voice which contains a variety of interesting articles covering subjects of interest to our members.  We also publish an online email newsletter "News You Can Use" monthly, highlighting the City Council items and events just past and upcoming throughout our area.  Archives of these newsletters are available here. We also maintain a full featured website which is now dedicated to improving community engagement. In addition to automating the membership on-boarding and renewing process, it also provides an Event Calendar which includes scheduled activities from all organizations in the City, Forums that allow passionate members to share information and collect responses from other members and manages targeted communications. 

The CRA is a fiscally responsible and highly efficient organization. All of our activities are supported by unpaid volunteers who are dedicated to growing the CRA, adding additional member benefits and encouraging others to volunteer to help our community.


Working with local businesses, the CRA has created a locals discount program called the Village Incentive Program or VIP. Over 50 businesses enthusiastically provide great offers to our members that present our unique VIP card hoping to develop repeat customers.

The CRA also has a Business Certificate of Appreciation program wherein special recognition is given to local businesses judged to have done an outstanding job of “making Carmel a better place to live and preserving and protecting the special qualities of our unique village in a forest.”

The "Carmel Code"...

Together we thrive, even with a diversity in stakeholders, backgrounds and views.   We all share the desire to keep Carmel-by-the-Sea a wonderful place to live, work, enjoy and preserve for future generations. 

Visit this page for this Carmel Code drafted in the 1990's...may all of us and this code  "live long and prosper".