Cayucos beach house plan draws ire from neighbors

dsneed@thetribunenews.comJanuary 18, 2014 

Cayucos Beach House

A beach house is proposed to be built on a small swatch of land on the beach in Cayucos, shown here adjacent to the existing homes.

LAURA DICKINSON — ldickinson@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission on Thursday will consider a proposal to build a beachfront home in Cayucos that has drawn the ire of some neighbors.

Jack Loperena of Fresno wants to build a 3,097-square-foot single-family residence on a narrow lot at the north end of Studio Drive. No beach setbacks are proposed, and a deck would extend 28 feet over the beach.

“The concerns are that it is too big of a house for the lot, and it encroaches into the coastal bluff,” said Don Funk, a Paso Robles-based land use planner representing the opponents who he said are both Cayucos residents and environmentalists.

County planning staff is recommending approval of the project. The controversy surrounding the home centers on whether the lot is on a coastal bluff, said Steve McMasters, supervising county planner.

Opponents claim the lot is on a coastal bluff and should require at least 25-foot setbacks from the beach. The county disagrees, saying the lot sits on an inland bluff that was formed by a historic mouth of Old Creek and is not subject to setbacks. The current mouth of Old Creek is south of the site.

“Normally, you would not see something that extends over what looks to be dry, sandy beach, but we have determined it is consistent with the county’s land use ordinances,” McMasters said.

He added that the section of beach over which the house would extend is within the owner’s parcel. 

“There are a lot of unique factors related to the geology of this site,” he said.

The planning commission’s decision can be appealed to the county Board of Supervisors and ultimately the California Coastal Commission.

“One of the concerns that we also have is that this project could be precedent-setting along the entire coast,” Funk said.

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