Price Canyon Project approved by Pismo Beach

March 3, 2011

By KAREN VELIE

Pismo Beach City Council voted unanimously to move ahead on the first stage of annexing land designated for a proposed Price Canyon development at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

City officials voted 5-0 to approve a memorandum of agreement that also requires approval by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

The approved proposal included the removal of the 530-acre Spanish Springs property located at the north side the proposed project that was slated to include a 124-acre vineyard, a winery, a 40-unit lodge and 44 homes. The reduction changed the area of the proposed developments to approximately 1,200 acres, comprising of two separate development projects.

The larger project, owned by an investment group managed by West Coast Housing, spans 950 acres and is slated to include 468 homes, a nine-hole golf course, conference center, wine center, vineyards, trails and open space.

The 258-acre Big Bird ranch property owners are working toward constructing 194 residences on their property, which is slated to include trails and parks.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, supporters and opponents of the projects spoke out about the potential transformation to the city if the proposal is ultimately approved.

Several opponents of the projects have voiced concerns that the cost of the development,  including road upkeep, utility lines to the project and fire and police services, will fall on the backs of Pismo Beach residents should the annexation of unincorporated Price Canyon be approved.

However, both county and city employees said that owners of the projects are required by law to pay for infrastructure. In addition, the cost of public services including police and fire are to be paid by property taxes.

Another concern that opponents raised is road maintenance and expansion of U.S Highway 101 to six lanes. The environment impact report (EIR) says that the developers have to help pay for a study of the highway and key local and state roads impacted by the projects.

Critics of the project point out the EIR also says the study would identify potential funding options such as multi-agency funding and a regional sales tax.

“They have developed a draft EIR and specific plan,” said Jon Biggs, the community development director for Pismo Beach. “You cannot properly address and project in draft form.”

Biggs said the city expects the developers to show how the two projects will pay for themselves.

“The developers will have to have a reliable, sustainable and adequate water supply that doesn’t create rate increases for other residents,” Biggs said. “We will not approve water that would have a cost to current residents.  They shouldn’t be shouldered with increased costs.”

Purchasing water does appear to be the projects’ largest obstacle. Several of the builders are looking at water sources, including surplus water in Oceano and Carpenteria.

West Coast Housing partners has been working to contract for a reliable water source.

Nevertheless, because the Big Bird property is closer to the city than the back two portions of the West Coast Housing properties, it is unlikely that those back properties will be annexed without the owners of Big Bird also having a reliable water source.

“Likely not because Big Bird is part of the specific plan so Big Bird would have to have a documented water supply,” said LAFCO Executive Officer David Church, who noted that the players have changed over time.

John King and Rick Loughead recently sold or transferred their ownerships in the properties to West Coast Housing partners.

Calls to Castle Rock Development, associated with the Big Bird property, asking for information about water sources were not returned.


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13 Comments

  1. WiseGuy says:

    Oceano needs that state water to blend with its own, increasingly contaminated ground-water. Being at a low point geographically, and bordered by farm fields, there is every reason to believe Oceano’s ground water will steadily grow more contaminated over time. And that is one of the reasons that Oceano contracted for state water in the first place. Now some people want that clean water sold to make some people rich (kick-backs, or not.)

    Taking Oceano’s water for an otherwise impossible housing development in Pismo Beach threatens the lives of those who live or work in Oceano, and help to blight the necessary open space, and create traffic nightmares in and around Pismo Beach.

    We must consider it a crime against the people if Oceano’s water is sold to the highest bidder OUTSIDE of Oceano. That this is even a threat shows just how corrupt and sick parts of our government system is.

    (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      Well said!

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
    • undertow says:

      Is it not true Oceano’s calculated build out still wouldn’t use all the allotted state water they have so selling a percentage would not compromise future housing or other projects?

      (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        What if their ground water becomes infused with salt water or pesticides as suspected in the past and they can’t use it? I’m not an expert but IMO I don’t know if I trust their build-out figures. I’ve read a lot of such city and county reports and it’s not unusual for them to be flawed. Have you seen what’s going on up and down the state? It’s all happened too fast. The sell of Oceano’s water was initiated from the very start by their city manager. I wouldn’t by a car from that character, my gosh he’s a shady guy. BTW, every time he says ‘the economist in me’ take a shot, you’ll be smashed half way through the meeting. He has no idea how much state water is worth. Didn’t I see that each Oceano waterpayer pays 25$ a year for state water,,,cheep insurance to prevent becoming another Cambria.

        Perhaps if the locals on the OCSD would stop drinking their polluted water then they might be able to use their brains and make something of that town. So much potential, it’s such a shame. I love the people in Oceano, they’re a very eclectic crowd but they can’t seem to get anyone good to work for that district.

        (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
      • connected one says:

        If you eliminate the ground water from the water sources, they will be short for estimated build out. The ground water isn’t great and one test well already has salt water intrusion. It is just a matter of time before the others follow.

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  2. Typoqueen says:

    From the article:
    “However, both county and city employees said that owners of the projects are required by law to pay for infrastructure. In addition, the cost of public services including police and fire are to be paid by property taxes”…

    Ha ha ha, who’s zooming who?! It is in their own fiscal analysis that Pismo makes300,000 or so,,of course there’s a small change in the project but in the long run it’s not that different.
    According to their own figures the the actual arterial road costs will be multi millions. That’s why they have purposed new sales taxes.

    Convention centers don’t make money for cities, they do create high traffic impacts. The article didn’t mention that it’s a 20,000 sq ft. convention center. The traffic alone will not only be an inconvenience due to heavy traffic but it will be expensive.

    “Another concern that opponents raised is road maintenance and expansion of U.S Highway 101 to six lanes. The environment impact report (EIR) says that the developers have to help pay for a study of the highway and key local and state roads impacted by the projects”

    They have already had a study, it’s the Traffic Constraints Study.Plus from what I heard at this weeks meeting, the city has already started building out some of these roads and the 101. I would rather have a study that the developer nor the city paid for as it seems to be a conflict of interest. But the study does show a huge impact.

    “The developers will have to have a reliable, sustainable and adequate water supply that doesn’t create rate increases for other residents,” Biggs said. “We will not approve water that would have a cost to current residents. They shouldn’t’t be shouldered with increased costs”

    How funny, Biggs said ‘We will not approve water….” Bla bla bla, he’s full of c$@p. They’ve tried, it’s the county that is dictating this, Biggs is full of it and you bought it.

    Karen, are you joking,,,, He just goes to all the meetings including this weeks city council meeting out of the goodness of his heart. Give me a break,,oh yeah is he brokering for water out of the goodness of his heart. Is King involved!

    (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
  3. R.Hodin says:

    Same as the Walmart model — building and opening Walmarts makes more money for the company than keeping them open. Eventually America will be covered with empty Walmarts (and water-starved housing developments)

    (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
  4. bobfromsanluis says:

    It is pretty common knowledge that a lot of people who enjoy Pismo Beach are from Bakersfield and Fresno, as well as some of the other smaller towns in the Central Valley; perhaps most of them have no awareness of what an Orange County type building spree will eventually do to Pismo Beach and perhaps a majority of them don’t care. I do realize that having a home that faces the ocean can be very desirable which can explain all of the houses that crowd along the 101 along the Shell Beach corridor as well as all of the ones hanging off the hills in Pismo Beach proper, but all of the homes that will be built if this development proceeds will not have “ocean views” if my perception of the project(s) do come to fruition. I am somewhat surprised by the lack of inquiry by the city council members concerning where the water will come from, how much the city will have to eventually pay, and if the developers can actually secure the funding to complete the project. Hopefully the planning department for the county will be a little more curious about those issues and actually demand some sort of “proof” that there is water and funding secured before allowing the project to proceed any further.

    (15) 19 Total Votes - 17 up - 2 down
    • racket says:

      bobfromsanluis:

      I challenge your assertion that SJ Valleyites do not know what rampant construction looks like. Every town in the lower San Joaquin has at least a couple of new subdivisions in various stages of occupancy. I suspect if one looked at California’s construction boomtowns of the past 20 years, the valley would be right up there at the top. Absolutely they know what it looks like. Whether they care is a different matter.

      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
      • bobfromsanluis says:

        Of course you are correct that there has been a lot of overbuilding in the Valley, and most who live there know what it looks like, and some probably realize the impacts, but I think that most of those who come over to Pismo for ocean air and sand probably don’t realize what it is that is/has/will happen here. I also agree with “Whether they care is a different matter.” Thanks.

        (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  5. WiseGuy says:

    Projects like this nearly always cost the taxpayers more money in the long run. Total infrastructure costs are rarely, if ever, completely covered by the increased tax revenue.

    This project would likely make a few people rich, and cost the taxpayers more money. And if it uses Oceano’s water, that will pretty much guarantee that Oceano remains under-developed and suffering down the road.

    This project will move Pismo Beach one more step toward the overbuilt, ugly mess that we see in so many Southern California communities.

    This project is bad news, all around and unless you are going to profit from it directly, it will cost you financially and aesthetically and environmentally.

    (18) 26 Total Votes - 22 up - 4 down
  6. Sally says:

    I have always wondered if the development pays for the infrastructure changes, yes the maintaince costs do go up for the roads ect where is the cost to the city.
    I would like to see a study that tells me how much in property taxes the property currently pays and how much will be collected when it is finished.
    It seems like a massive increase for the city and that should pay for maintaince police fire ect.

    (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
    • connected one says:

      There is a Fiscal Analysis on the City’s website that shows the breakdown of estimated property tax and transient occupancy tax. The city is only making $312,000 on a multi million dollar project. The figures are inflated too. It is definitely going to cost the tax payers big time.

      (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down

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