Developers allegedly planning to build 15,000 homes near Avila Beach

February 25, 2018

Environmental groups have uncovered an email that allegedly reveals a developer or developers’ plan to strike a deal with PG&E so they can build a 15,000-home community in Wild Cherry Canyon near Avila Beach and Diablo Canyon power plant.

If such a deal is in the works, it could violate the terms of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon closure agreement. The email also indicates one of the developers believes the current SLO County Board of Supervisors is supportive of the plan to build the new community.

For years, environmental groups have tried to stave off development of the 2,400-acre Wild Cherry Canyon property, for which a PG&E subsidiary holds the title. The American Land Conservancy failed in its bid to purchase the long-term lease to the property and transfer the land to the state parks system to add onto nearby Montana de Oro.

HomeFed Corporation, a real estate development company headquartered in Carlsbad, holds a lease for 2,350 acres of the land, according to the company’s website. The development firm previously proposed building 1,500 homes in Wild Cherry Canyon.

In a Jan. 10 email, real estate investor Denis Sullivan stated, “think we can get a deal with PG&E to get the fee.”

The type of title the PG&E subsidiary holds is a fee title, which is commonly known as a fee.

Sullivan sent the email to Tom Blessent, a project planner who works with HomeFed and to San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill. Sullivan went on to say in the email that they could fit 15,000 homes on the site, which is one and a half times the size of Grover Beach.

“I can push with the board of supervisors that are in our favor at the moment to progress a deal to create a new community on the ranch,” Sullivan stated.

The discovery of the email drew an angry reaction from the Sierra Club and the group Friends of Wild Cherry Canyon, which issued a joint press release on the matter.

“Placing a new city on these pristine lands would be an environmental tragedy of the first order,” Kara Woodruff, a representative of Friends of Wild Cherry Canyon, said in a statement. “This is an ecologically and culturally rich and remote property, accessible only by an impacted, two-lane road that runs through the community of Avila Beach and dead ends at the Diablo Canyon plant and its nuclear waste storage facility. From an ecological, safety, traffic, fire and regional quality-of-life perspective, it’s hard to contemplate a worse place for a development of this size and nature. HomeFed’s profit motive is clear, any concern for the needs of the community is not.”

The two environmental groups also allege that the email suggests PG&E has been engaging in discussions with Sullivan on a deal for the Wild Cherry Canyon land, violating the terms of its Diablo Canyon closure agreement set by the California Public Utilities Commission. The agreement requires public input and regulatory review prior to PG&E taking action on the use of land surrounding Diablo Canyon.

PG&E has responded by denying that is in talks with Sullivan or HomeFed over the development of Wild Cherry Canyon.

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And SLO Co. financial plans for the future are these: tax the workers more, the rich less, build more houses to pay for failing infrastructure and pensions, and sell public water to private developers for private gain.

Jobs? That’s for the “private sector” to figure out.

Wow. Just think of the jobs 15K houses will bring: maids, housekeepers, landscapers & lawn services. You know, low-education job’s that simply serve the wealthy. 90% of which are Republican, and not “Progressive”. If any of the folks on this site who scream “progressives” (as if that’s a nasty word) had ever volunteered at their local election polling office would know. SLO Co. is very conservative. At least the wealthy are.

I think we might have been better off with the power plant…

15,000 homes in Avila? Awesome!! That’s probably 30,000 more cars too, right? I wonder how super fast my commute will be with all those cars on the 2 lane 101 freeway where everyone in the passing lane drives 40 and everyone in the right lane road rages and tries to cut in front of slow drivers. Seems FANTASTIC!!!

No jobs are needed for the retirees that will pay $900k ++ to live there. Once they get there, they will complain that the wind blows sand and then no one can ever go to the beach again. Seems legit.

Interesting concept. When was the last time someone started a new town in SLO County? Was it 1913 with Atascadero? Los Osos in the 1930s? Weren’t most of the towns here founded in the 1800s?

Can a new town even be founded with today’s regulations?

And it would have to be a whole town right? With 15,000 homes, that’s what 30,000 residents?

They will need services – police and fire, water, sewer and electricity, though solar could probably handle that, and businesses like gas stations, grocery stores, and liquor stores to start.

I’m intrigued by the idea of a new town being created.

This is is from their 2015 SEC filing. the last sentence says it all. Leep in mind this was their 2015!!!!!!! They have been working on this for awhile.

We own a 90% controlling interest in the partnerships that are the lessees under a 99 year lease entered into on December 26, 1968

with an option to renew for an additional 99 years. The lessor is an affiliate of Pacific Gas & Electric, which owns the nearby Diablo

Canyon Power Plant. The property is largely open space used for grazing and features slopes rising above Avila Bay offering

spectacular panoramic views in all directions. We have begun the very lengthy and what we expect to be a difficult process to entitle

the property for development purposes.