Pismo Beach is on the way to becoming more artsy — with the help of future large commercial and residential developments in the city.
The City Council approved preliminary plans for a public art program Tuesday night that would require public art to be installed at most major construction projects and developments in Pismo Beach, at the expense of the project owner.
During the council’s discussion, Mayor Shelly Higginbotham said the program was a long time coming.
"We took the baby steps (10 years ago), but then you get caught up in water and streets; you get distracted," Higginbotham said. "I'm ecstatic that we can begin to do this now."
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Public art is defined as “art installed on locations that allow viewing visibility from a public right-of-way or from other public property” including sculptures, paintings, graphics, photography, mosaics, chalk art, sand art, sand sculptures and capital improvements that are “artistic in nature.” The art pieces can be temporary, but have to be valued at 1 percent or more of the construction project’s total cost.
The artwork would be installed at new commercial and municipal developments with building costs of $250,000 or more, as well as at residential developments with five or more units. It also would apply to commercial expansion projects that increase floor space by 50 percent or more of its existing floor space, according to a city staff report.
Artwork would be approved by the city Parks, Recreation and Beautification Commission, and a formal public art proposal submitted to the Community Development Department for evaluation.
To be approved, the artwork must:
- Fit the character of the area where it will be located
- Include “timeless qualities” for enduring enjoyment of the art work
- Stand out as a work of artistic merit
- Be compatible with the coastal, historical or natural characteristics of the city
Project developers can also make a “public art in-lieu contribution” totalling 1 percent of the building development costs if they chose to not install an art piece. The contribution would then go into a public art account, which would go toward installing artwork at other city properties.
The program will return to the City Council for a second reading at its next meeting July 21. If finalized, the public art program would go into effect after 30 days.