Voters to decide on Price Canyon development issues
July 3, 2014
Pismo Beach voters will get to decide between two development plans for Price Canyon after a proposed initiative received the required approvals to be placed on the Nov. 3 ballot.
A group dubbed Save Price Canyon garnered the required signatures to bring its proposal to either a vote of the people or for the city council to adopt the proposed amendments to the city’s general plan. The council, which in the past has supported smart growth development in the area, vote unanimously on Tuesday to bring the proposed initiative to the public for a vote.
In addition, the council voted 3-1, with Councilman Erik Howell dissenting, to ask the city attorney to prepare an impartial analysis of the pros and cons of the measure. Howell said he wanted to allow those on both sides of the measure to write arguments for and against.
People for and against the Spanish Springs development have been arguing over the proposed “smart growth” project for years.
Both sides have made claims. Proponents and city staff have been accused of attempting to hide the true nature of the project and its costs to the community, and in turn, have accused opponents of the project for attempting to disseminate false misinformation.
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.
Save Price Canyon’s measure would bar hotels, conference centers and golf courses from the Price Canyon area.
The developers in Price Canyon had proposed hundreds of homes on small contiguous lots with walking trails and community centers. The bulk of the land would remain open space. Smart growth is a planning theory that concentrates growth in compact walkable areas to avoid sprawl.
The Save Price Canyon group wants only large acreage developments on the east side of the city. If passed, the measure would change the city’s general plan to limit parcel size in the Price Canyon area to 40 acres or larger, with a maximum of two homes per parcel.
If passed, Save Price Canyon’s initiative would require each project to have a new long-term water source. Even so, state law currently requires new projects developers to demonstrate that they have the water sources needed for the proposed developments.
Proponents of the project say the plan and its proposed conference center will increase tourism and hotel tax revenue for the city. Opponents say that Pismo Beach will never become a destination spot and the project will negatively change the character of the city.