Prospect dim for Pismo duplex

Plans to build a duplex at the mouth of Pismo Creek face an uphill battle Thursday when they go before the California Coastal Commission in San Francisco.

Commission staff is recommending rejection of the project, which was approved by the Pismo Beach City Council a year ago. The development has several unusual features.

It is so close to the creek that it would be built on 8-foot-tall pilings to prevent flooding. It is also so close to an existing vacation rental that the other building would have to be partially demolished to accommodate it.

“As a result, the proposed project must be denied, and the commission is unaware of any modifications that could make a residential structure at this site consistent with the Coastal Act,” the staff report summarizes.

The lot, owned by Vaughn and Maryann Koligian, is at the end of Addie Street between a city parking lot and the creek mouth. The couple wants to build a 3,651 square-foot, two-story duplex on the lot.

Commission staff cites a variety of issues with the project as reasons for denial. These include flooding hazards as well as potential impacts on endangered species and aesthetics.

They suggest that a better use of the site would be a visitor-serving business, “such as a kayak or other boat or surf rental facility, or a seasonal eatery based from a mobile structure that could be removed prior to the rainy season or large storms.”

Economic and planning analysis done by the Koligians argues that the lot is not a viable site for a visitor-serving business and environmental concerns have been mitigated.

When it approved the project, the Pismo Beach City Council found that it is “compatible with the visual quality and character of the surrounding area and (is) compatible with the immediate neighborhood.”

Although it is not cited as a reason for denial, the staff report goes into considerable detail about an existing vacation rental home, built atop pilings, that encroaches into the lot of the proposed duplex. One corner of the house along with a staircase and entryway would have to be removed to make way for the duplex.

Owners of the existing rental, the Addie Street Land Group, have consented to the partial demolition of the structure, the staff report states.