A “really great project” that would guarantee forever that ordinary folks could always afford the cost of a weekend stay at Avila Beach has hit a pothole on the road to approval.
The project — known as Harbor Terrace — has received a unanimous thumbs-up from the five members of the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission. In the March 26 Tribune, Commissioner Eric Meyer, after voting for the project, called Harbor Terrace “a really great project,” and said, “I am really stoked about it.”
Harbor Terrace, which grew out of a plan endorsed by the Coastal Commission in 2006, has received enthusiastic endorsements from two other groups not often in agreement — commercial fishermen and environmentalists. Until a last-minute appeal was filed, it had no known opposition.
But because of the appeal, the county Board of Supervisors must review the Planning Commission’s decision, which it will do June 16.
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Without a doubt, Harbor Terrace deserves five thumbs-up from the county supervisors.
The 32-acre Harbor Terrace is consistent with the county’s coastal plan for ensuring affordable access to the beach and the ocean, and is, in fact, 100 percent consistent with all existing plans for the community.
Fees for the 58 low-cost tent campsites will be affordable, as they will be modeled after those charged by State Parks.
The renovation and reconfiguring of Harbor Terrace means that 25 RV campsites now on Avila Beach Drive can be eliminated, thus increasing public safety, improving the view and freeing up more beachside parking.
This plan also ensures users will be paying reasonable fees, low enough to be broadly affordable, but high enough overall to create a meaningful revenue stream that will help support Harbor District operations, including restroom maintenance, lifeguard staffing and harbor patrol.
The attempt to halt Harbor Terrace appears driven largely by a fear that Avila Beach is on the verge of being overdeveloped.
While it’s true that three other significant projects are on the drawing boards — up to 1,500 homes in Wild Cherry Canyon; a new, four-story lodge at the Avila Beach Golf Resort; and a resort on Fossil Point above Avila Beach — each of these is in an embryonic planning stage, and each will receive years of thorough scrutiny.
Harbor Terrace, in contrast, has been thoroughly vetted and is small in scale. Through hundreds of hours of workshops and public hearings it has been redesigned and refined to fit seamlessly into the culture and environment of Port San Luis and Avila Beach.
The creative design and intentional affordability of Harbor Terrace also has attracted the unprecedented financial partnership between the Harbor District and the California Coastal Conservancy to cover over $400,000 of predevelopment costs.
Harbor Terrace presents zero threat to the beauty and serenity of Avila Beach. In fact, it will enrich one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. But you won’t have to be rich to experience it.
Please join me in urging the county supervisors to support their own Planning Commission’s decision. Let’s make Harbor Terrace a reality.