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South County Advisory Council discusses potential changes at Pismo State Beach and the Oceano Dunes

Posted at 10:44 PM, Feb 25, 2019

The South County Advisory Council (SCAC) held a special meeting Monday night to discuss potential changes at Pismo State Beach and the Oceano Dunes.

There was confusion from both the council members and the public about the timeline and extent of the plan.

The SCAC learned of an upcoming deadline just a few days ago and now they are trying to get themselves and the community caught up with project.

Nipomo resident Carla Haynie says she is concerned that traffic and air quality will worsen if the recreational plan goes forward as is.

“It’s disturbing as a homeowner here that the increase in air quality, the traffic and all the problems with people drinking and driving and they will have to go into Nipomo for gas.”

Those proposed changes include:

-Widen Oso Flaco Road to support RV access

-Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) staging

-OHV riding track

-Kid’s OHV practice track

-OHV access to the Sand Highway

-Up to 230 new campground spaces

-Boardwalk around the lake

-Kiosk

-Picnic area

-Hiking trails

-Group gathering areas

-Staff residences

The proposed changes are part of a greater public works plan for the surrounding areas.

Many neighbors who spoke at the meeting said State Parks has not done enough to reach out to the community.

“I think this was a stealth project that was hoisted upon us,” said Lawrence Shinderman. “It came out of the blue.”

The SCAC chairman says feedback for the project has mainly come from dune riders.

“The feedback [from residents] we got was that people were surprised that anything was going on,” said Art Herbon, SCAC chairman. “I don’t think the public has been reached out to in this area very well.”

Some people say the proposed changes like creating a boardwalk and picnic area around the lake are a good idea, but increasing traffic on the local roads will be a problem.

“To make this an area that will encourage a different kind of tourism I think is a positive good, but the idea to bring in high end vehicles is not a positive good for the area,” said Shinderman.

SCAC made four motions at Monday’s meeting.

They asked that the State Parks Public Works Group to study the impact of air quality and traffic in the Nipomo Mesa if more off-highway vehicles were to come to the area.

“Whether they get off at Tefft, or 166 or Willow, it all funnels through Nipomo and effects our traffic planning,” said Herbon.

They also proposed to create a task force to keep on top of the project’s timeline and to hold meetings with representatives from the state and the county.

Council members have 72 hours to vote by email on the four proposed motions brought up at the meeting.

The entire public works plan is still in the public hearing stage.

The next step would be an environmental impact report.

The SCAC has until March 5th to submit input to State Parks about the proposed plan before it moves into the next phase.

Public comment can be submitted here by March 5th.