North Coast residents can learn more at an upcoming meeting about two substantial, tourist-oriented development proposals for historic properties with jaw-dropping ocean views.
One project would be about 21 miles north of Cambria and the other almost 8 miles south of town (about 3 miles via Highway 1 and the rest on the steep, twisty Harmony Ranch Road up the hill).
The North Coast Advisory Council’s meeting Wednesday, Nov. 16, starts at 6:30 p.m. at Rabobank, 1070 Main St.
At last month’s meeting, council members heard from Jim Ramey, a son of the couple that bought Ragged Point Inn in 1961, and San Luis Obispo architect Richard LeGros.
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The two men described an approximately 15-year, five-phase complete renovation of the resort and its facilities, some of which have been in place for a half-century. Ramey estimated during a site visit Nov. 2 that the entire project could cost more than $25 million.
Council members had questions about the removal of old trailers used as employee housing, whether the renovation design includes sufficient parking and other issues. So they agreed to table the discussion until Nov. 16.
They’re to focus on the employee-housing issue, but also separately revisit the entire project proposal.
Also on the NCAC agenda is a proposal to “revitalize” the former Cambria Air Force Radar Station, with plans that include “a visitor-serving facility with reservation-only tent camping, a military/historical museum and a food and beverage service/coffee shop/restaurant for the camping guests,” according to an email interview with Max Schaefers, whose family owns the compound.
When Mildred and Wiley Ramey first saw Ragged Point, it included a snack shack, a couple of rusted gas pumps and a travel trailer or two. But the view and the site were spectacular. Two years later, the couple had convinced the carnival man owner, Monte Young, to sell them the land and the ramshackle stuff on it.
Fast forward to today, and the inn has 39 rooms, a relocated/enlarged snack bar, gourmet restaurant, gift shop, artisan jewelry shop, coffee bar and mini-mart.
Ragged Point also reflects a deep sense of place, of the dignity and grandeur of the site. The Ramey heirs want to accentuate that in the renovation project.
While some of the new rooms and amenities clearly will be in the upscale class, the Rameys say they’re dedicated to providing their extraordinary ocean views and coastal experience to everybody, whether they’re guests spending their entire vacation at the destination resort, or pass-through visitors who have stopped for a snack and a chance to sit and absorb the ambiance.
Among the plans for the project are:
▪ Phase 1: Redoing the existing 5,300-square-foot oceanfront house; building new large, high-end, ocean-view resort rooms on a 1-acre northern portion of the property (which has been off-limits to the public for about 70 years, because antiquated employee housing has been there); replacing the gas station facilities with commercial space and six new rooms.
▪ Phase 2: Move the sewage-treatment plant from the oceanfront bluff, putting the facility mostly underground on the south end of the property; building a resort-operations building, valet-parking garage and employee housing in the same area. With sloped roofs topped with landscaping, the aim is that the buildings would nearly disappear from the roadway viewshed.
▪ Phase 3: Redo and expand the restaurant; add 12 rooms to the new north-end resort.
▪ Phase 4: Replace a row of rooms built in the 1960s and ’70s.
▪ Phase 5: Build a day spa and massage center on the far west point.
Ramey said the resort has plenty of water, thanks to his father’s foresight in buying up water rights when the Rameys bought the point.
Cambria Air Force Radar Station
Schaefers said that, in addition to the amenities mentioned above, other facilities and activities could include “organized workshops and seminars for arts and crafts, as well as indoor and outdoor activities, like yoga, Pilates, dance, tennis, basketball and gymnastics.
“We have extensive meadows which can host the tents, without the use of grading or other surface alterations. We plan for a very low impact to the natural environment by moving the camping spots around the meadow from time to time, as well as limiting the number of available spaces.
According to the project proposal, water would come from a private well.
San Luis Obispo County planner Airlin Singewald said in a Nov. 8 email interview that “once we have a definitive project description, the applicant will have to provide evidence of water availability for the proposed development/uses.”