Correction: The state Coastal Conservancy sent the letter to the American Land Conservancy, not the Coastal Commission.
After several months of uncertainty, negotiations to add 2,400 acres to Montaña de Oro State Park appear to be back on track.
In February, the executive officer of the state Coastal Commission sent a letter to the American Land Conservancy saying that the agency would only extend a $5 million contribution toward the $21 million purchase price of the property if PG&E agreed in writing to transfer the title to the property by this fall.
Obviously, unless PG&E can commit to working with ALC to complete the transaction prior to your option expiring this fall, there is really no reason for us to extend our grant terms, said executive officer Sam Schuchat in a letter to ALC President Kerry OToole.
The letter was enough to restart stalled negotiations between PG&E and the state Resources Agency, Schuchat said. One of the Resources Agencys oversight bodies, the Public Works Board, is waiting for the title to the property to be transferred and other requirements to be met before it allocates the final $6.9 million needed to complete the deal.
We thought, Lets shake everybodys cage a little bit, Schuchat said. The letter has had its intended effect.
PG&E has said it plans to finalize the title transfer by the September deadline, but its efforts have been hampered by a large workload finalizing high energy seismic surveys off Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and other commitments. The utility remains confident that the deal will be successful and confirmed that negotiations with the state are progressing.
In light of recent, positive tentative developments in the negotiation process, we dont believe the letter or the timing in it is relevant any longer based on pending actions by the parties involved, said Tom Cuddy, PG&E spokesman. Because we have ongoing negotiations with a number parties, for us to comment on specifics at this time would not be appropriate, nor can we speak for them.
The Coastal Conservancys agreement to supply its $5 million contribution expires June 30. However, the agreement will be officially terminated only if the conservancy board votes to rescind it.
The real drop-dead date is in September when the purchase option expires, Schuchat said. Until then, the agency remains committed to doing what it can to make the land conservation deal a success.
Weve had our eyes on this piece of land long before ALC starting working on it, he said.
For its part, the American Land Conservancy remains hopeful that the project will come to fruition, OToole said.
If the Wild Cherry Canyon property is acquired, Montaña de Oro would extend from Los Osos to Avila Beach and become one of the largest parks in the State Parks system.