Is Pismo Beach ready for another 1,000 homes? We don’t believe so. Not today, and not even five or 10 years from now.
There are major issues that would have to be satisfactorily resolved before a plan for developing as many as 1,000 homes, two hotels, vineyards and a golf course off Price Canyon Road should even be considered. Those include water supply; traffic congestion — especially on Highway 101 and Price Canyon Road; the ability of schools to handle additional enrollment; preservation of scenic views along Price Canyon, to name but a few. There also is the rotten economy to consider. In this slow market, this is hardly the time to add hundreds of new homes.
Down the pike, though, there’s bound to be demand for more housing on the Central Coast — heaven help the economy if there’s not — and there will be increased pressure to build.
When that occurs, we believe the city of Pismo Beach should make decisions about the amount and type of growth allowed to occur on its outskirts.
For that reason, we believe it makes sense to include vacant parcels off Price Canyon Road in Pismo’s sphere of influence — a designation given to property where a city might expand in the future.
As Tribune senior staff writer Cynthia Lambert reported Sunday, three of the four Price Canyon parcels proposed for development already are in the city’s sphere. The fourth area — the 250-acre Godfrey parcel proposed for as many 250 homes and a nine-hole golf course — is proposed to be added as well. The Local Agency Formation Commission will consider that request next month.
Opponents of development of the Price Canyon area object to including this parcel in the city’s sphere. They see it as a prelude to annexation and subsequent development.
We, too, have concerns, but we don’t believe that keeping land out of the sphere of influence is the way to address them.
Here’s why: Refusing to include the property in the city’s sphere is no guarantee that development will never occur there. While it would not be easy, it’s possible that growth could occur under county jurisdiction at some future date. In that case, the city not only would lose the ability to set limits and conditions, it also would miss out on property tax, bed tax and sales tax that would be generated by the project.
On top of that, we fail to see the logic or the fairness of looking at long-term plans for three areas, but leaving a fourth, contiguous parcel out of the picture. If development is to be considered at all, plans for the area should be considered as a package, rather than in piecemeal fashion.
Price Canyon may turn out to be the wrong place to grow — we won’t know that until there’s further study. But when and if the area does develop, we believe the city of Pismo Beach should be in the driver’s seat.