Coastal Commission weighs in on Cayucos property rights issue

April 20, 2012


The California Coastal Commission is slated to determine if Dr. Marshall Lewis can build a two-story, 4,555-square-foot house on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean in Cayucos.

Following rejections of Lewis’ proposal to tear down an existing home, remove trees, and construct a new home by the  Cayucos Advisory Council and the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission, Lewis scaled back the project and took his proposal before the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

In what was deemed a battle between personal property rights and neighborhood aesthetics, the board voted 4-1 in favor of Lewis’ revised proposal. While some of the neighbors on Lucerne Road  filed an appeal to the Coastal Commission asking that the project be rejected, others sent letters to the commission supporting Lewis’ proposal.

Maria Jaqua, John Carsel, Carol Baptiste, and John and Sue Black appealed the county decision because of alleged inconsistencies with policy, views, and community character.

Coastal Commission staff did not agree with the appellants and recommended that the commissioners reject the appeal and let the county supervisors’ decision stand.

Last week, in an 8-3 vote,  the California Coastal Commission found substantial issue with the project citing concerns for bluff erosion, tree removal, size and scale of the proposed home, and the possible statewide impacts of the project on community character and agreed to place the proposal on a future agenda for a full review and hearing.

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Take a good long look around you…when did it get this bad? We are regulated, restricted, fined, assessed, taxed, surcharged, denied so much we have become complacent and no longer question the WHYs of it.

Remember the good old days when you could buy your land, build whatever you wanted on it and your neighbors actually HELPED you do it? It was a time ago, yes, but not THAT long ago. People have got to stand up and say “HELL NO!” We have handed over rights in a nice gift wrapped box. We must stop this madness.

I’m not saying there should be NO further development in Cayucos (God knows, some of the houses there now are hideous), just that the development should be tasteful. What will happen is what happens everywhere in California where unfortunately democracy allows the visually illiterate to put their stamp on our built environment: We will have a sea of brick veneer, faux Federation & faux Georgian McMansions erected. Why not build something beautiful, whether it be high rise or low density. Why do we settle for poor aesethics? Cayucos could have been a beautiful heritage town once upon a time. But…small homes sold, churches sold, vacant lots sold, old buildings sold,…all now look tacky and tasteless. Houses on the main street tastelessly renovated. It’s too late to save now. The loud voices wanting no development are those who moved from elsewhere, renovated their oceanview cottages (which don’t look too great), and now want the place to stay as it is for their own selfish reasons. My family lived in the town for over 100 years and when I drive through now I think it just looks sad. Bring on the development!

John and Sue Black; their house is next door and have a grandfathered in boat launch ramp and hundreds of yards of concrete poured right up to the water’s edge. They are constantly working on their property without permits. Talk about the pot calling the kettle “Black”. BTW the Blacks are from Bakersfield and made their money there as electrical contractors. They are NOT native coast people just want to prop up their house value.

It is highly likely not everyone living next to you finds you the best thing since sliced bread. You might want to keep this in mind.

When my old employer and I would do land surveys in Cayucos, the only thing most the landowners cared about was what THEY could do. They did not care about their neighbors, or the community, or the folks across the street, whose view would now be altered forever. They wanted everything done in secret. In fact, many times when we were surveying, we were told by the property owners to either lie about what we were doing there, or to be deliberately evasive if approached by the neighbors. My old boss is still in SLO Co. and still doing the same old thing, but from home these days. He sold his old office to a new-life church.

Well hound, were they planning a park, a community center, or some sort of house or structure on the land that they sacrificed and saved to buy? Too bad every home can’t be ocean front or be on the 19th hole, but those that have saved enough to buy that lot should not have to bow down to the demands of the people that live one lot over but happened to be built there first.

What’s goofy is that just north of this is about 6 miles of completely undeveloped coastal bluff, preserved forever from the evil developers that wanted to build more than a hundred million-dollar homes.

As for scenic Hwy 1, people should keep their eyes on the road and not be concerned with staring off at the ocean. That’s a 2-lane road and extremely dangerous.

Cayucans have always fought against literally everything. This is nothing new for that town.

Do you even know how that land got ‘preserved’ from those evil developers?

The owner of the San Geronimo Ranch did that. Do some research and find out why?

It’s not just “a house.” This is the first house on the bluff as you enter Cayucos from the North off the designated Scenic Coast HWY 1 which is of statewide concern. This charming historic home, its water tower and cypress trees are in the public viewshed. The Commission merely asked for full review of the project in the procedural finding of “Substantial Issue.” The community character of Cayucos is to be considered when a home of this size and scale are proposed as redevelopment of the site. If I had to predict, this redevelopment will take place, the Commission may tweak it for the better, on behalf of the Local Coastal Plan, preserving some of the trees perhaps, reducing the mass of the home, and or requiring preservation of the historic water tower.

“in the public viewshed” This is the problem, the public ought to get its wallet out and reimburse the land owner for property taxes, insurance, and other fees the feels that are necessary and charge every passer by a view tax for looking at its beautiful view as a impact fee,

same dumba$$ logic as “in the public viewshed.

Since when did the community get to decide what they hell they want to have their neighbors build? Did the residents vote on the Madonna Inn? Would the coastal commission approve Hearst Castle today? Would a lighthouse ever be allowed under the rules of today, or would Highway One even exist?

People are now able to enjoy Hwy 1 all they way to Monterey through much hard work and the moving of millions of yards of dirt dumped into the ocean. The environment is still beautiful and natural. There is no way that highway could ever be built nowadays because the environmentalist religious zombies would claim it would destroy the entire coast and devastate the environment. Now years later we can see that his has NOT occurred.

Tell that to the gentleman that used to own the San Geronimo Ranch. Ask him how much he got in return for all of that land above Cayucos, on Hwy. 1, he ‘donated’ to the state in preserve.

State wide impact for a house in cayucos,

the people on the coastal commission need to be slapped around for saying something that stoopid.

How many environmentalists does it take to roof a house???

Four if you slice them thinly..

Yea, but they have no substance, so yer roof’s still gonna leak.

I’ll hold em down for ya, Jim. ; )

The Coastal Commission was established because people will do the most selfish acts in the name of their personal interests (family, home, security). It was established because enough people in this state got sick of the greedy people who don’t give a darn about anyone else. The good people of California got sick of people who don’t care too much for beauty; they got sick of people who drop used baby diapers in a river, or dump battery acid in a stream, and then those SAME people complain they can’t swim in the water anymore.


and just like all good ideas government comes up with to look after the well being of us citizens, they get infested with a bunch of irresponsible pin heads with an agenda.

You have heard the old saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”