Morro Bay debates downtown building height restrictions - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Morro Bay debates downtown building height restrictions

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The City of Morro Bay is looking at whether to increase building height restrictions downtown.

It's all part of the city's Downtown Waterfront Strategic Plan. During the last city council meeting on Jan. 23rd, the document was reviewed and some residents did not agree with changing the building heights in the area, so that line in the document was scrapped.

But it's not completely off the table.

"It is insane that they would even discuss it," said 20-year Morro Bay resident Bill Woodson.
Up for discussion during Tuesday's Planning Commission meeting is allowing buildings up to 37 feet tall in the downtown area with an architectural extension up to an additional 7 feet.

Currently, the general maximum height is 30 feet. Some buildings can be higher with a minor use or conditional use permit. The limit is 25 feet if within 20 feet of residentially zoned property.

Some long-time residents fear their views of the iconic Morro Rock and the bay will be hindered.

"What would the residents get out of this? Name me one attribute that the residents would get out of this. There's nothing," Woodson said.

"I think the reason for it was the idea that we wanted to attract more high-end retail to Morro Bay, (so) we needed to increase the ceiling height," said Marlys McPherson, Morro Bay City Councilmember.

Scot Graham, City of Morro Bay Community Development Director, says it also stemmed from outreach for the general plan update, the local coastal program update, zoning code update and outreach associated with the Downtown Waterfront Strategic Plan. 

Others have said they want to see residential units above commercial establishments.

Long-time resident Wallace McCrey doesn't have a problem with the potential change as long as there's still variety.

"If you have a high building, it's fine, but if you have a low building next to it, it's more visually pleasing," McCrey said.

The building height guideline will come before the planning commission on Tuesday as a zoning code.

"If people are concerned, they should go to the planning commission and make their voices heard," McPherson added.

The meeting is Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Vets Hall. Public comment will take place at the meeting.

The city council will make a final decision at a later date after the planning commission's meeting.

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