The Morro Bay Dog Beach is one of San Luis Obispo County’s beloved hidden gems and is currently in the process of becoming public land.
Morro Bay city and San Luis Obispo County officials said they will purchase parts of it from the current owner, Chevron, and share responsibility.
Since the stretch of beach belongs to the energy corporation, beachgoers could be penalized for trespassing, but that will dissolve when the city and county own it.
The Morro Bay Dog Beach is one of the few places where neighbors can let their dogs run off leash.
“Chevron stopped using the tanker loading facility more than 20 years ago, and with the current non-use of the area, their decision was to sell that property to unload it from their portfolio," San Luis Obispo County District 2 Supervisor, Bruce Gibson, said.
Last Tuesday, the city of Morro Bay agreed to the terms of sale, but are hammering out details with Chevron before signing the final agreement within the next month or two.
Last year, San Luis Obispo County bought the north end of the dog beach.
“From the viewpoint of a resident, they won’t notice a difference most likely. The parking lots would be in the city, the dog beach extends beyond the city boundary," Morro Bay City Manager, Scott Collins, said. "We have a really good relationship with the county. It’s not going to lead to any inter-jurisdictional issues or warfare if you will, we’re all working together.”
However, some parts of the area will need to be rehabilitated because of the environmental damage.
Chevron officials said it will continue to own those parts until they are resolved.
Jeff Moore, the Corporate Affairs Adviser for Chevron Corporation, said in a statement:
“Chevron Land and Development Company is pleased to collaborate with The Trust for Public Land, City of Morro Bay and Cayucos Sanitary District to work toward conserving the beach as open space for the enjoyment of the community. This creative collaboration will also incorporate the Panorama Lots into the City of Morro Bay’s sphere of influence and allow for their possible annexation. If annexed, the city and its residents would have increased influence over any future development of the Panorama Lots.”
“One really exciting aspect about having the land west of the highway owned by the city and the county is now we have secured the right of way for a trail that will connect the north end of Morro Bay to the community of Cayucos," Supervisor Gibson said.
According to the city and county, land that remains affected by Chevron’s previous activity will be under the corporation’s responsibility to restore.
“Over the years various amounts of oil and chemicals have been spilled on the ground and have seeped into the water and Chevron has to identify and remove and treat all of those areas where there is contamination by the petrochemicals that were their stock and trade," Supervisor Gibson said.
After fixing that, Chevron has an option to sell more of the property to the public.
So far, the city and county spent about $380,000 for the land.