Morro Bay group submits signatures for initiative blocking industrialization

August 17, 2023


A Morro Bay citizens group has submitted the signatures needed to put an initiative on a future ballot to stop the industrialization of the city’s waterfront. 

Citizens for Estero Bay Preservation, a group of Morro Bay residents focused on preserving the city’s coastline for the community and tourists, began collecting signatures in May. To put the initiative on a ballot, the group needed to collect at least 800 valid signatures.

The group recently submitted 1,486 signatures to Morro Bay City Clerk Dana Swanson, who must now verify there are enough valid signatures to trigger a ballot measure. 

Vistra, a Texas-based energy company, has plans to replace the Morro Bay power plant with a battery energy storage facility.

Even though the city has a land use plan that defines zoning for every parcel, members of the community have voiced concerns that the city council could vote for projects that change zoning.

After looking at the best way to stop the industrialization of Morro Bay, Barry Branin, a member of the preservation group, hired an attorney to help write an initiative to reaffirm the city’s land use plan, Branin said. A voter initiative cannot be overturned by the city council, and if it passes, will require a vote by the residents to change land designations in the coastal area.

The purpose of the proposed initiative is to “preserve Morro Bay as a world-renowned tourist designation.”

While many residents are not opposed to the planned off-shore wind farm northwest of Morro Bay, they are concerned that on-shore support systems could negatively impact the community and tourism. The initiative would also likely curtail any plans to build an industrial wharf in Morro Bay.

Last year, the federal government auctioned off three offshore wind energy sites located between 20 and 30 miles off the coast near Morro Bay.

While the wind farm components will be manufactured out of area, multiple agencies are working to identify the best ports to assemble the parts, after which the windmills will be towed out to sea. Dock sizes at the proposed ports range from 30 to 400 acres.

Two agencies, Reach Central Coast and the California State Lands Commission, released reports over the past year identifying Port San Luis as the best option, with Morro Bay the second choice. Studies have shown a decline in property values and tourism near industrialized ports.

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The fact that the waterfront was industrial during WW2 to me , seems irrelevant.It was

War. Morro bay is gem- especially to those who have called it home.

This is now a town that has shuttered a perfectly good natural gas generation facility that functioned for decades with only minor impacts, then built a sewer plant uphill to satisfy outsized concerns over rising sea levels ( not really a threat at this point) and is now moving on to be part of a conceptual renewable plan that is part Rube Goldberg and part

Doctor Seuss.

With what’s been happening in the wind generation world lately, this could be Morro Bay’s own version of the High Speed Rail to nowhere. Heard about that lately?

More and more it becomes apparent that projects like this are more about enriching the few at the cost to the many. While projects like this are

sold as being sleek and sexy and saving the planet, when the curtain is pulled back it’s about some folks getting rich and some officials already spending the promised revenue in their heads.

Nothing but heartache will come to the residents and guests of Morro Bay if this “project” is allowed to steamroller ahead.

This comment by “Old man and a dog” is quite possibly the most profound, and accurate, comment that I have ever read on CCN. I very much look forward to the day when all the “environment” scams are revealed to be the corrupt money-grubbing schemes that they actually are.

The people against rebuilding the sewer plant where it was cited tsunami and vusual impact, a portion of it could be seen from hwy one for 2 seconds as you drove by, this lithium storage building is said to be 40 feet tall and several hundred feet long, and is in the tsunami zone also, and this eyesore WILL be seen from the hwy, no getting around that, just because PG&E’s building is there doesn’t mean you can build an eyesore there also, but the biggest problem is the batterys themselves once they short out and start a fire you can’t put them out,and they are toxic, just because vista and newsome say all is safe doesn’t mean anything, remember I’m from the govt I’m here to help, there are plenty of articles out there to read on the problems with these batterys. The next thing is changing the bay to accept bigger ships, this is not a deep water port and should not be turned into one, we here in Morro Bay don’t gain anything from this.

This is a bit absurd. Take a look at what’s down there right now, a big, defunct power plant that takes up a big portion of the northern end of the waterfront. Looks pretty industrial to me. Who do you think built Morro Bay High School and funded other city infrastructure. It was Pacific Gas & Electric with their enormous tax contributions. Who do you think built the terrestrial portions of the waterfront ? The United States Navy (the war department) and the Army Corps of Engineers. It was an industrial waterfront for decades and that’s what put it on the map and helped it become an incorporated city. Unfortunately, many people moving in from out of the area do not understand the legacy and history of a commercial waterfront and its benefits. It appears that many are satisfied with trinket shops, kayakers, and just enough fishing boats to maintain the “quaint fishing village “ moniker.. unfortunately that is not sustainable and won’t feed the bulldog.

Rather see an industry providing jobs for locals than something catering to tourists who exploit and trash our city… There are environmental protections already in place and the space is zoned accordingly; let them build.

Hats off to Mr. Branin for spearheading the effort to get this initiative on the ballot. Let the good people of Morro Bay decide if the want to ruin their town.