Cayucos property owners lose court appeal

A state appellate court has ruled that a development in Cayucos must get approval from the California Coastal Commission before it can be built.

The ruling handed down Monday is the latest development in a four-year quest by Franco and Sonia DeCicco to build a 17-unit motel and four residential condominiums at Ocean Boulevard and Old Creek Road.

The project was approved in a 3-2 vote by the county Board of Supervisors and was subsequently appealed to the Coastal Commission. The commission found enough questions about the project to warrant a full review.

The DeCiccos then sued the commission, arguing it does not have jurisdiction over the project. They are represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a property rights advocacy group.

Paul Beard, the PLF lawyer for the DeCiccos, argued that the development is exempt from commission jurisdiction because the planned uses are allowed by the property’s commercial zoning.

“Another way of putting it: The commission has one legal duty in the DeCicco matter — to butt out,” Beard wrote in a 2009 opinion piece published by The Tribune.

The appellate court disagreed and sided with state lawyers, who argued that the development also requires a subdivision of the property, a valid trigger for a commission review.

“The commission points out that a subdivision may provide for a higher density than encompassed by a permitted use,” the appellate judges wrote in their ruling. “This is a rational basis for its appellate jurisdiction.”