The Cambrian

BRP committee to consider steep-slope lots

When a committee studying the ways and means for retiring development rights on some Cambria lots meets Tuesday, July 26, members will take up again some topics they’ve been discussing for some time.

Mel McColloch, Greg Hunter and Bob Sfarzo, members of the Cambria Community Services District Buildout Reduction Citizens’ Committee, hope to have more definitive answers soon to the question of how many of vacant lots there are.

They’ve been compiling stats and data from various sources and spreadsheets, including from the services district, the county, the SLO Land Conservancy and Greenspace — The Cambria Land Trust.

McColloch said information provided recently from the latter, by Greenspace President Mary Webb and Executive Director Connie Gannon, has been especially helpful.

McColloch also met July 15 with representatives of the county assessor, tax collector and general services/land agent offices, to “see exactly what they have on their books” in the way of Cambria properties owned by the county. However, the meeting didn’t produce much helpful information, he said.

Current governmental recordkeeping on such matters is difficult to track, he said.

The committee had previously anticipated that lots on slope grades steeper than 30 percent likely would be deemed unbuildable by the county.

Not so. McColloch said that, according to advice county planning received recently from county counsel, planners “will not discontinue giving waivers” for building homes on lots that steep, and that “99 percent of the time, they approve the waivers. So we have to figure all the lots are potentially buildable.”

The district has a water wait list of about 665 properties and more than 3,900 residential customers currently being served, with a cap of 4,650 total possible water connections.

I imagine the data-acquisition phase is still months from being complete.

Ted Siegler, Buildout Reduction Committee

Another issue committee members continue to hash out is how property owners can be compensated for lots that, for one regulatory reason or another, cannot be built upon.

Committee Chairman Ted Siegler said Monday, July 18, that members recently compiled a funding starter list, from which they’ll later trim unworkable ideas and to which they’ll add other concepts.

He said that, while the committee is to provide to the district by early August an “executive summary” of its work (information to be utilized by the district’s Sustainable Water Facility Environmental Impact Report or EIR), the committee’s work certainly won’t be complete by then.

“I imagine the data-acquisition phase is still months from being complete,” Siegler said.

Therefore, the summary for the EIR likely will include individual reports that say:

▪  A Buildout Reduction Plan already exists.

▪  The committee was established to review and update the existing plan as necessary.

▪  Progress toward buildout reduction has been made, with hundreds of lots having been retired since the initial plan was approved.

▪  And the summary will include details about the committee’s longer-term role of oversight of the updated Buildout Reduction Program.

He said he expects to present a draft summary to the committee at the July 26 meeting, but “it’s not a document until the committee gets a chance to review it, make any modifications and then approve it.”

Then it goes to the district’s EIR committee, President Gail Robinette and Director Greg Sanders.

Siegler and committee member Mark Rochefort met recently in a closed-session with those two CCSD directors and General Manager Jerry Gruber, with District Counsel Tim Carmel participating by phone conference. Siegler said the topic was the impact a recent lawsuit might have on the committee’s work.

If you go

Cambria Community Services District Buildout Reduction Citizens’ Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 26, at the Cambria Fire Department station, 2850 Burton Drive.