No need for a special election in Pismo Beach

It makes more sense for the City Council to rescind its approval of development-friendly amendments than to take matter to a vote

letters@thetribunenews.comAugust 27, 2013 

This view looking south shows a portion of Price Canyon in 2011 where 961 acres could eventually be annexed into Pismo Beach and developed.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

With enough signatures collected to force a vote on future development of the Price Canyon area, the Pismo Beach City Council has two choices: Place the matter on the ballot, or rescind its approval of general plan amendments that lay the groundwork for future development of the Price Canyon area.

It may someday fall to the voters of Pismo Beach to decide whether to allow Price Canyon to develop under city jurisdiction. But what’s the rush?

There certainly is no need to call a special election at a cost of as much as $100,000. And since there is not yet an approved development plan for the planning area in question, we also question whether it’s necessary to place the matter before voters in a regular election in 2014.

Given that, we believe it makes more sense for the City Council to rescind its previous action.

It would then have to wait a year to reconsider the general plan amendments that were the subject of the referendum, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

That would give the developers of the two projects proposed for the area — Spanish Springs and Pismo Ranch — the opportunity to further refine their plans, particularly given concerns about traffic congestion on Highway 101 and Highway 227.

We also believe it makes more sense for voters to be able to consider the specific projects in their entirety, rather than vote on amorphous general plan amendments.

As we’ve said before, we believe some level of development is appropriate for the area, and we especially like Spanish Springs’ plan to set aside 73 percent of the property — 684 of the 961 acres — as open space.

But we, too, have nagging concerns, particularly about traffic circulation.

Under the circumstances, we believe a yearlong breather makes more sense than rushing headlong into an election.

We urge the Pismo Beach City Council to rescind its approval of the Price Canyon general plan amendments.

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