Concerned Citizens for Avila
A Community Action Group
January 9, 2018
Together we can protect the natural environment, 
safety and accessibility of Avila.
Highly Important!
Action Alert!

ATTEND:  SLO Board of Supervisors Hearing, January 29: Golf Course Application for Events Permit
WHERE:  Government Center, 1055 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo.
WEAR:  Royal blue t-shirts.
WHEN:  The time will likely be 1:30 p.m. WE WILL SEND AN UPDATE.   
HOW:  Fill out a speaker form and tell the BOS how you feel about more and larger events in Avila; o r simply attend to convey your interest.

Communicating by Email: 

Email the official in charge of the application process is Justin Cooley, Office of the Tax Collector;  let him know  what you think before January 14, for your comments to be included in the BOS packet. 

You can email t he Board of Supervisors, decision maker for this project, i n advance of the January 29 hearing date.   Your communication will be distributed to the Board and posted after the hearing. 
Will Avila Become SLO County's Paradise Lost?  
An Application for Mega-Events and Unlimited Events
For years the imminent threat looming over Avila Beach has come from development proposals which would increase traffic congestion and destroy the natural landscape. Now, with the latest application by the Golf Course in Avila for larger events and no limit on the number and size of " non-profit " events, this fate could become reality as early as January 29th--the day the SLO Board of Supervisors (BOS) considers this application.
Does the Board of Supervisors (BOS) understand that traffic congestion in Avila is not a convenience issue, it is a matter of safety? The application is for 14 "for-profit" event-days per year for 3,000 to 5,000 attendees PLUS there would be unlimited "... activities under 3,000 attendees, and unlimited "non-profit" events over 3,000 attendees." It must be recognized that Avila has one narrow, winding road in and out. High fire hazard, earthquake faults, tsunami potential and a nuclear facility make this a nightmare waiting to happen.
At a recent Avila Valley Advisory Committee (AVAC) meeting, Golf Course representatives heard passionate pleas from many concerned citizens.  If you spend time in Avila Beach, or tried to reach the beach area and park, but gave-up and left, you likely have strong feelings about the current traffic and parking situation. Will our BOS really approve thousands more vehicles and prioritize developer ambitions over public safety?
Avila roads are already over-capacity. The resident population can swell from 2,000 to many thousands with beach, harbor and hotel visitors, Diablo and other employees, and event attendees. It can take nearly an hour to drive 3 miles to the freeway after an event. How can the BOS approve vastly greater numbers of vehicles without addressing the current situation? What if an evacuation is needed when Avila is filled with thousands of people? What if a wildfire is approaching?
The BOS has a choice to make: Should Avila host many thousands of event attendees on a regular basis? Or, Is the awesome natural beauty of the Avila coastline and surrounding open space worth protecting? Most important:  Are visitors, employees and residents worth protecting?
"The coast is never saved. It's always being saved."
~ Peter Douglas, California Coastal Commission Executive Director, 1985-2012.
Permitting of Events  is Not Complicated
But in this case, it is...
Some points to consider regarding more and larger Golf Course events:
  • An $850,000 General Plan Update has been underway for Avila for about three years. 2047 people signed a petition asking for a moratorium on applications for large development until completion of the Update. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Does it make sense to even consider a highly impactful project before completion of the costly Update?
     
  • The County Ordinance under which the 14 event days are proposed is intended for a single one-time event  (County Code 6.56, Temporary Commercial Outdoor Entertainment License). In addition to being inconsistent with the Ordinance, the proposal for multiple events trivializes the magnitude of just one event for over 3,000 attendees, particularly for tiny Avila.
     
  • Are events at the Golf Course actually "temporary?" County Planning staff identified 41 Golf Course events during 2017. Is it legitimate to approve multiple events as temporary when an application for a Golf Course events venue, involving a traffic study, and road impact fees, is clearly appropriate? Should the Golf Course be treated differently from other event venues and not even pay traffic fees?
     
  • In 2004, the BOS granted a one-time event permit to the Golf Course for a charity event. Since then, the BOS has allowed hundreds of events, unpermitted, to occur by its inaction. Complaints to the BOS about event impacts over the years have been numerous, and pleas to enforce ordinance requirements for a permit ignored.
     
  • In 2011, after seven years of diligent staff and community members collaboration, a refined events ordinance, which was mandated by the BOS, was not acted on and the hearing on it was continued indefinitely. The BOS has declined to consider the matter again.
     
  • The Golf Course parks cars for events on an Open Space Easement to the County/public which specifically prohibits such parking, even temporarily. Furthermore, the Golf Course Applicant has profited by charging for the parking--on the public's easement. County officials again look the other way.
     
  • The Open Space Easement was required as a condition of approval for nearby residential development. What value are conditions of approval if ignored?
     
  • No new access is proposed by the Golf Course. Avila lacks the infrastructure to be a major events venue.
     
  • The application proposes an event parking area with access along the Bob Jones Trail. Is it desirable or safe to add more cars on this stretch of a public pathway to the beach? 
Given all of the above, is it desirable or safe to approve this application? We think NO.

Click  HERE to read the Avila Valley Advisory Council's letter opposing approval of the application. 
Avila Golf Course Events Presentation
Draws Large Crowd
At the December AVAC meeting, attendees had plenty to say about approving more and larger golf course events. Note the wording on the slide above: "Amendment to Existing Outdoor Commercial Entertainment License" (italics ours).

See the golf course's presentation at AVAC's website.

NOTICE: AVAC will no longer meet at the PG&E Center. On January 14 AVAC will meet at the Yacht Club building at the foot of the pier in Avila, 7pm.
Wild Cherry Canyon  Conservation 
Big Step Closer
Conservation discussions for Wild Cherry Canyon have begun again! 

HomeFed has expressed an interest in considering a conservation sale of their leasehold interests, and the Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel (DCDEP) is reaching out to state funding agencies and others.

To make conservation work, not only does a lease need to be purchased, but also the underlying fee title held by Eureka Energy (a subsidiary of PG&E). The DCDEP is working with PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on enabling PG&E to be at the table to participate in conservation discussions in advance of decommissioning.

The DCDEP just  released its Strategic Vision--based on public input--for the decommissioning of the power plant and the disposition of the 12,000 acres that surround it (called the Diablo Canyon Lands), including Wild Cherry Canyon.  You can read the Strategic Vision on their website and also see the list of upcoming meetings  on topics such as spent fuel storage. 
Support CC4A

Your donations are an investment in Avila's future. Issues facing Avila include safety, especially during an emergency evacuation, traffic, parking, large development, and multiplying events. 

You can make a donation online using the PayPal button below or mail a check to Concerned Citizens for Avila, PO Box 2476, Avila Beach, CA  93424-2476.

Thank you for your contributions!
(Donations are not tax-deductible.)

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