Letters to the Editor

Spanish Springs a balanced long-range plan

The Spanish Springs project sets forth a thoughtful, long-range plan for the Pismo Beach sphere of influence that strikes a very favorable balance between permanently preserved open space and quality development. The development will not occur all at once, but rather over the next 15- to 20-plus years, as determined by market forces.

More than 73 percent of Spanish Springs (706 acres out of 961) will be devoted to agriculture, open space and recreational uses. Our entire property frontage along Price Canyon Road will be preserved as open space to ensure the rural scenic views enjoyed today are protected permanently.

Please take a drive out Price Canyon Road. At the point in the middle of the “Big Bend” is where our private property begins. It ends before Ormonde Road, where oil extraction equipment starts to dot the landscape. As you look to the right, recognize that all the land visible along this stretch will contain no homes, no hotel, no commercial development. There will be a passive public park and a regional trail along the creek. There will be a single access road that goes under the railroad tracks and bridges the creek. There will be vineyards and there will be permanently protected oak woodlands, and of course Pismo Creek will be left in its natural condition.

We are committed to preserving — forever — the hundreds of acres we own within the canyon proper. That’s why individuals like Neil Havlik, a true and tireless advocate for open space protection in the county, support the open space protection we are proposing as part of the Spanish Springs Specific Plan.

For more than 20 years, Pismo Beach’s General Plan has envisioned a combination of open space preservation and housing and commercial development on our property. The Spanish Springs Specific Plan furthers the vision set forth in the city’s General Plan.

Furthermore, Spanish Springs will create benefits for the entire community. With Spanish Springs, Pismo Beach will become the first South County community to generate recycled water, will get its first golf course, equestrian trails, and miles of new biking and walking trails — all benefiting the entire community at no cost to existing residents.

Here are some other facts about the plan:

Upon completion, Spanish Springs will add more than $2.6 million in tax revenue to the city annually, generating vital new funds for public safety, road maintenance and other city services.

Spanish Springs will pay more than $4.2 million in school fees directly to our local school district. Additionally, Spanish Springs will pay more than $16 million in improvement and building fees.

As the property owner, we are required to provide 100 percent of the funding (approximately $3.5 million) for Pismo Beach to initiate a water recycling program.

The plan will be completed in phases and add less than 1 percent to the population each year.

Spanish Springs will also have a revitalizing effect on Pismo Beach’s downtown. In addition to the economic impact from hundreds of new permanent jobs and high paying construction jobs, the homes planned will bring families to support local businesses yearround and the plan will boost tourism with the addition of a “wine country” hotel, a golf course and conference space.

In an effort to inform the public about the Spanish Springs Specific Plan, we have held 35 community forums (and counting). We have modified the plan in response to input from residents and the City Council (a total of 37 changes). For instance, park and habitat acreage has substantially increased.

Communities benefit from good long-range planning. The Spanish Springs Specific Plan is a good long-range plan that will benefit the city of Pismo Beach and area residents far into the future.

If you have questions or would like more information about the plan, please visit our website at http://www.spanishspringspismo.com.

Steve Hester is one of the owners of the Spanish Springs project. Steve has family in San Luis Obispo and has been enjoying the Central Coast for more than 20 years.