Pismo delays decision on Spanish Springs

Council wants ill member Mary Ann Reiss in attendance; debate goes late into night

clambert@thetribunenews.comFebruary 5, 2013 

Debate continued late into the evening in Pismo Beach on a massive project that could develop part of Price Canyon north of the city limits.

The Pismo Beach City Council delayed a decision on the Spanish Springs project Tuesday, which would add residential homes, senior housing, a 150-room hotel, vineyards and numerous public parks and trails on several properties east of Price Canyon Road.

More than 200 people filled the Pismo Beach Veterans Memorial Building to hear the council’s decision, but it was continued so Councilwoman Mary Ann Reiss, who was absent with an injured back, could attend.

The proposal has become a hot-button issue in and around Pismo Beach, drawing residents from outside the city who are worried about how the project’s traffic impacts and water usage will affect them.

Opponents say the project will strain local resources and infrastructure, including roads and water, and create additional congestion on Highway 101, Price Canyon Road and local streets. Some worried about the size and impact of the senior center, while others said it is a much-needed facility.

“It’s not a bad project — for Southern California,” said Michael Hannon, who lives in rural Arroyo Grande. “The problem is, it doesn’t work in Price Canyon.”

Supporters of the project have urged the city to move forward so it can control development at its borders, provide well-planned housing and attract more tourism and revenue.

The developers say the project will create 300 permanent jobs, provide for 3,000 high-paying construction jobs during development, pay for a water recycling program, provide 15 units of workforce housing and create a new road connecting Price Canyon Road to Pismo Beach.

About 73 percent of the project — 706 acres of the 961 total acreage — will remain open space or be used for agriculture and recreation.

Should the proposal pass, the developers would also pay millions in fees to the city and the Lucia Mar Unified School District.

“We care deeply about what we do and how we do it, and we care deeply about the communities we become a part of,” said  Stephen Hester of West Coast Housing Partners.

The properties are owned by a limited-liability corporation managed by land investment and development firm West Coast Housing Partners.

The properties still need to be annexed to Pismo Beach before they can be developed.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCounty Beat on Twitter.

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