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Community members take part in a forum to discuss the future of the Morro Bay smoke stacks

Posted at 11:53 PM, Sep 08, 2021

Community members took part in a forum to discuss the future of the Morro Bay smokestacks on Wednesday.

The company that owns the Morro Bay power plant and stacks is planning to redevelop the property, leaving residents concerned about the future of part of the Morro Bay skyline.

Some residents want the stacks to be removed because they do not serve a purpose. Other residents want the stacks to stay, saying it is a piece of the city's history.

Some people calculate the distance to their home by road signs or a gps, but for Jim Rasmussen, it's the iconic Morro Bay skyline.

"For me when I'm coming home from somewhere I see three stacks and I know I'm getting home," said Morro Bay Resident, Jim Rasmussen.

Rasmussen is upset by the thought of a skyline without the stacks and is concerned about what might replace them.

"I just want it to be a dockside kind of feeling as opposed to an industrial kind of feeling," said Rasmussen.

Arden Jarrid is also upset by the possibility of the removal of the stacks.

"The stack and the rock are just a part of the atmosphere they just go together," said Los Osos Resident Adren Jarrid.

He feels as if Morro Bay would lose a part of its history.

"It's sort of sad just like so many other things they've destroyed in our country that had historic value," said Jarrid.

San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District officials say if the stacks are demolished there will be oversight ensuring an environmentally satisfactory demolition.

"If the stacks are demolished of course there will be district oversight with inspections and generic controls pursued to the federal regulation to ensure that compliance is achieved," said Tim Fuhs of SLO County Air Pollution Control District.

Vistra, the company that owns the stacks, is responsible for the demolition unless the city requests that the stacks remain.

"I hope they keep reaching out to the community and come up with something that hopefully everybody will be happy about," said Rasmussen.

A final decision was not made at the meeting Wednesday night but community members were able to voice their questions and concerns.