Tribune exclusive: 900 acres of Cayucos ranchland to forever stay rural

Nine hundred acres of Cayucos ranchland overlooking State Park’s Estero Bluffs will stay rural under protections set to be finalized today. A $1.1 million conservation easement scheduled to be recorded in San Luis Obispo this morning covers two miles of land on Highway 1 overlooking the bluffs shoreline area acquired by the state in 2000.

The agreement restricts new building on Jim Maino’s San Geronimo Ranch to two homes, both of which must be out of view of the federally designated “All American Highway” and Estero Bluffs coastline property.

Cayucos Land Conservancy, which helped cobble the deal together, will act as watchdog for the easement.

The Maino land, which includes five legal building sites, serves as a hilly rural backdrop for Estero Bay and Cayucos. The landscape includes a ranch headquarters visible from the highway, with a home, barns and outbuildings. San Geronimo Creek runs through the land before emptying into the sea. The ranch also includes significant habitat and riparian areas, including coastal prairie.

For generations, the Maino family has used the land as a working cattle and agricultural ranch, an operation that will continue. Under the easement, the ranch will remain on the tax rolls and in private ownership.

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