H-SHELL BEACH

Nov 8, 2013 2:50 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Shell Beach residents sound off over city's potential ownership of Chapman Estate

On Thursday night, neighbors of a Shell Beach estate sounded off about the city of Pismo Beach potentially taking control of the property. Clifford Chapman owned the $12 million dollar mansion and estate on Ocean Boulevard for decades. Chapman willed the property to the city before his death last year.

Dozens of residents packed the Shell Beach Veteran's Hall to voice their opinion and ask questions on the matter. Mayor Shelly Higginbothem and other city staff were there to take note. The biggest concerns that many neighbors had was how opening up the property to the public would impact parking and traffic in the area. Many residents are worried that if the city takes ownership of the estate and allows the public to use it, it'll clog up streets in the area- streets that residents said are already congested and narrow.

The city said if it takes ownership, the property could be used for public events like weddings and corporate retreats. The city pointed out at Thursday night's workshop three potential parking lots in the area which guests could use, and then get shuttled by bus to the Chapman House. But, a lot of residents want to know how many events will be held each year on the property, and if there is an alternative use to the property at all.

"I do believe that this property will serve the community tremendously, and all these issues, some of which are very understandable, some are petty, will be resolved over time. It just will happen, it just will be resolved, that's just the way the phenomenon will work," said a Shell Beach resident.

Some other concerns from residents were how much the city would have to pay to get the Chapman House up and running for the public. The city said it could cost up to $3 million.

Chapman left his mansion to the city with only two major desires. The first, that his long-time partner Don Shidler stay in the house if he wants, and the second, that the house be used for charity events and open to the public.

The city council will vote on whether they will accept or deny ownership of the Chapman Estate on December 3.

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