Developers battle over Pismo Beach conference center
June 20, 2013
The proposed project, by West Coast Housing Partners, spans 950 acres and is slated to include 468 homes, a nine-hole golf course, conference center, wine center, vineyards, trails and open space.
After a 2 a.m. request by a neighboring developer who asked to be more involved in the project, the council asked West Coast Housing Partners to coordinate the project with Darren Shetler’s Pismo Ranch project, formerly dubbed Big Bird.
Shelter, who co-owns a neighboring property, said that he had been left out of the process and asked the council to allow him to build a hotel and a conference center, items planned for the Spanish Spring project.
In 2008, Shelter was working with Spanish Springs’ former owners to prepare an environmental impact report. He put $8,000 into the report, but backed out of the project after the cost of the report was nearing $100,000.
In 2011, Dave Watson with West Coast Housing Partners approached Shelter and asked him to coordinate projects with them. At the time, Shelter was looking to construct 194 residences on his 258-acre property. He again backed out, this time with report cost exceeding $1 million.
“Big bird is the wild card in all of this,” Watson said. “They have twice withdrawn from the project, now they act like they were never invited to the dance. At the eleventh hour Shelter argued that he was left out of the project. The simple realty is they are attempting to take our place.”
Nevertheless, issues with views of the canyon could determine which group of developers are permitted to build the proposed hotel and conference center. At Tuesday’s meeting, the council repeatedly noted the importance of protecting the view corridor, which would require leaving a large portion of Shelter’s property as open space.