Dec 4, 2013 1:37 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News
You could soon step inside a multi-million dollar mansion in Shell Beach. On Tuesday night, the Pismo Beach city council voted unanimously to take ownership of the Chapman Estate on Ocean Boulevard.
The property was previously owned by Clifford Chapman. Chapman died in June 2012 and he willed the property to the city. Chapman's wish was for the mansion to be accessible and open to the public.
"At least it will be locally controlled," said Paul Bragg, who lives just houses away from the Chapman Estate on Santa Fe Avenue in Shell Beach.
Bragg said he's excited that the city has decided to accept Chapman's gift of ownership. However, not all residents are as thrilled. Some concerned neighbors worry that opening up the large property to the public will clog already congested streets in the area.
But, the city said it understands those residents' concerns. The logistics of how the property will be open to the public still need to be sorted out. There have been discussions to use the property as a wedding location, a corporate retreat site, or just open the mansion up like a park.
"The city is going to put together a task force of community residents to identify potential issues, and come up with some solutions to that," said Carolyn Johnson, the city's Planning Manager.
Johnson said an oversight commission will also be organized to help the city figure out what how best to utilize the property cohesively with the neighboring residents.
The city also has a lot of fixing up to do - over two-million dollars worth of renovations to get the property up to safety standards for the public. The city said the money will go to repairs to a seawall, adding accessibility ramps, and improvements to the house. It will also cost the city $30,000 a year to maintain the estate. The city said it will all be worth it in the big picture, because the site could generate revenue for Pismo Beach.
The city said it hopes to have the property ready by next June for a fundraising event by the non-profit group CAPSLO.
It was also Chapman's wish for his longtime partner Don Shidler to continue to live in the house. The city has to settle a lease agreement and get the deed transferred, but hopes to have the estate declared city property by December 31.
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