Price Canyon project near Pismo Beach draws concerns

Worries about water, traffic, noise and other issues dominated a public workshop Thursday held to discuss a proposal that would add hundreds of homes, hotel rooms and a nine-hole golf course to rural land near Pismo Beach.

The area includes 1,700 acres held by six owners located north of the city limits along Price Canyon Road. It would be developed in four phases.

Eventually, the proposal would include 500 single-family homes and 197 multi-family residences, 200 hotel units, 280 acres of vineyards, 28 acres of parks and 466 acres of permanent open space, according to a project description from the draft environmental impact report.

Pismo Beach officials released the draft report in September; the comment period on the report has been extended to Nov. 10.

Concerns over the size of the project, as well as its impact on traffic and local water sources, were raised by residents and county officials to members of the Local Agency Formation Commission, which would eventually have to approve annexation of the land into Pismo Beach.

At its meeting Thursday, the commission unanimously directed its staff to emphasize in comments on the EIR that relying on state water and reclaimed water is speculative and should not be included in the water-supply analysis until an assessment is completed that clearly documents the water sources.

For projects of 500 or more units, an assessment must show that the water purveyor has secured water rights, has money for needed infrastructure and can identify and secure the required regulatory approvals, per a Senate bill passed in 2001.

The draft EIR calls for a combination of water sources to be used for the various residential, agricultural, hospitality and other needs, including state water, groundwater and recycled water.

“All we want to know is that our water is going to be protected for our families in perpetuity,” said Holly Covington, who was concerned about the proposal’s impact on the Oak Park water basin.

The proposal has stated that the Oak Park aquifer is not intended for use; however, there are six wells in two areas that could draw water from the Oak Park aquifer.

The Pismo Beach City Council on Tuesday was scheduled to discuss whether to assist the developers in negotiating for water from the Carpinteria Valley Water District, which may have some state water available to sell for the project. The discussion was postponed until all council members could be present.

The city’s Planning Commission will hold a hearing Nov. 9 on the draft EIR.

LAFCO Executive Officer David Church also said the proposal as designed “appears to encourage urban sprawl,” which is inconsistent with its policies “regarding leapfrog development and promoting logical and orderly growth.”

The proposal includes development in four stages, and Church suggests the project should be phased so that the properties closest to the city are developed first.


The Price Canyon draft environmental impact report can be viewed by going to www.pismobeach.org and clicking on the “Price Canyon Draft EIR” link on the right-hand side of the page. The LAFCO staff report can be viewed at www.slolafco.com.