Pismo Beach parking lot closes over eminent domain dispute

June 27, 2023


Amid a dispute between Pismo Beach and a property owner over an eminent domain clause in a contract, a popular downtown lot has closed to the public, exacerbating the South County city’s parking problems. [KSBY]

The 75-space lot is privately owned, but it had been leased by the city to provide public parking. The lot closed on May 1, to the dismay of local business owners who say they are losing customers in peak season because of a lack of parking. 

Joey Wolosz, the owner of the lot, said his family has partnered with the city for the last 15 years to provide parking. But earlier this year, negotiations over the lot broke down.

Wolosz accepted all but one of the city’s terms. The city wanted to remove a clause from an agreement that excluded the possibility of Pismo Beach seizing the property through eminent domain, the parking lot owner said. 

The city said it does not comment on negotiations when asked for a statement on the matter. 

Wolosz said he has contacted business owners and the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce in an attempt to find a solution so that the lot can reopen to the public.

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The City is obviously right, the property owner can’t create a special rule that would carve out their land from being acquired for public use in perpetuity. Eminent domain is a state power, and the owner has a constitutional right for just compensation, just like every one of his neighbors.

Eminent Domain is only for the public good and welfare. It’s not for charging high tourist parking fees for the city pocket.

Eminent Domain IS the special rule that is designed to protect the citizen land owner from malevolent government intrusion.

The issue isn’t Pismo trying to enact Eminent Domain, something not being planned; the issue is the property owner trying to slip an unreasonable demand into their contract and blaming the city for the breakdown. Maybe there is a better use for the lot, maybe there isn’t – but it isn’t for this owner or this Pismo government to decide in perpetuity.

Sounds like a threat by Pismo Beach to the property owner if they don’t do as the city asks the city will take the property by force, if an individual or business did this it’s called extortion and illegal.

The owners need to build a massive hotel quickly, before the lawyers with deep city pockets force them to acquiesce their property rights.

It looks like the city is greedy and once the eminent domain was off the table they would use it against him another government power grab. You own property and are free as much as the government lets you be!!!