Morro Bay initiative on blocking industrialization qualifies for ballot

September 14, 2023


An initiative calling for stoping the industrialization of the Morro Bay waterfront will appear on the November ballot in the San Luis Obispo County city.

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 for a ballot measure 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.

On Tuesday, the Morro Bay City Council voted to put the initiative on the upcoming November ballot. If passed, the initiative would require a public vote for for the city to change certain land use designations in order for properties to be developed. 

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 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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SLO County environmentalists are clamoring to shut down CO2-free clean power generation at Diablo Canyon while simultaneously opposing wind turbines and battery storage elsewhere. They are quick to kick visitors out of the Oceano Dunes, set aside more open space, trails, parks and a national marine sanctuary, but refuse to protect sensitive riparian corridors from lawless “litter pig” drug-abusing squatters. Preserving the natural nocturnal environment isn’t even on their radar, they believe environmental protection ends when the sun sets. Their irrational positions across the environmental & political spectrum highlights their immeasurable hypocrisy and ignorance.

Ludicrous, having a vote to decide if we should vote if someone can build what they want on their private property. Public interference of the worst kind. I wish we had an actual free market in SLO.

I remember the days when Avila Beach was a quiet little out of the way pleasurable place to go.


I think we all miss the tank farm on the hill above the town and oil tankers at the Unical pier loading and unloading petroleum products.

Removing the oil terminal was the downfall of the quiet little community by the beach. Now it’s filled with greed driven tourist pandering businesses charging outrageous prices and paying substandard wages.

Ya know, tourists and even locals aren’t always great for the local environment either. Equine use in MDO is absolutely destroying the trails and is out of control but nothing is going to be done about that.

Nicely worded: “While many residents are not opposed to the planned off-shore wind farm northwest of Morro Bay,…”.

This should read: “While most are opposed…”.

I disagree. Morro Bay isn’t the quaint little conservative stronghold that it was in the 80’s and 1990’s. I think the majority of Morro Bay residents support the offshore wind facility, and are generally sympathetic to the “green movement” and all things having to do with reversing climate change. As long as it doesn’t affect their backyard, economy, or view.

After all, isn’t much of the whole climate change belief all about making selective sacrifices in your own life and demanding drastic change from others? Regulations for thee but not for me? I think the majority of Morro Bay supports the offshore wind farms, but at the same time their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

If the good folks of Morro Bay can have a say in what kind of city they want to be… its a good thing…

The “good folks” of Morro Bay are often uniformed, uneducated, and unexperienced in these matters; but yeah, let’s listen to them…

Interesting….. aside from the very rare occasion of seeing a Police Officer, I almost never see anyone who is “uniformed” in Morro Bay……

Listening to these foolish people who assume that some company is going to come here and take over the property and build all these wonderful things like condos, apartment, hotels, ……….!

1, these will be the same citizens who will then change their hats and protest all the new construction.

2. What company wants to come here to pay 50M+ just to clean up the potential environmental issues.

3. All of this to have the priviledge of then fighting the morro bay citizenry, COASTAL COMMISSION, Sierra club, Chumash and Salinas groups, etc. Etc.

Get real folks, please!!!!!!

To protect land along the coast just do what others do, pay off Coastal Commissioners to squash or approve what you want.