Pismo Beach chooses Howell, Waage in City Council race

clambert@thetribunenews.comNovember 6, 2012 

A controversial proposal to develop in Price Canyon could face increased scrutiny in the coming year with a new face on the Pismo Beach City Council.

Voters welcomed incumbent Councilman Ed Waage back for another four years on Tuesday night. But they also voted in longtime Lucia Mar school board member Erik Howell, who has been critical of the Price Canyon proposal.

“I look forward to working with the council,” Howell said late Tuesday. Some things he’d like to accomplish include undergrounding utilities, primarily in Shell Beach, and “helping to make Pismo a better partner with other public entities.”

Waage said he is “pleased to represent the residents of Pismo Beach for another four years.” Among his priorities are improving the city’s downtown and ensuring all areas of the city take steps to reduce fire hazards.

Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham ran unopposed for re-election.

One of the top issues in Pismo Beach this election season was a controversial proposal that would add hundreds of homes and hotel rooms to several properties in Price Canyon.

The future council will play a crucial role in reviewing the plan for Spanish Springs. In October, the city’s Planning Commission in a split vote recommended the City Council approve documents that would guide development in Price Canyon north of the city limits.

The council could consider the documents in late November or December.

Howell has said he has serious reservations about the proposal, including concerns about water and traffic.

Waage said the plan has numerous issues that need to be explored, but added, “I’d like to have the city control over what happens there.”

Even if the council approves the proposal, the properties would have to be annexed into Pismo Beach before being developed.

The council will also focus on issues within the city’s boundaries, including improving its downtown, preventing bluff erosion and hiring a new city manager to succeed Kevin M. Rice, who is retiring.

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