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Morro Bay City Council votes to end waterfront RV camping

Nineteen RV slots are now set to close in April.
Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 09, 2022

A citizen-led effort to end RV camping along the Embarcadero in Morro Bay has been adopted by the Morro Bay City Council.

In a 4-1 decision, Morro Bay City Council members voted Tuesday to end RV camping at three locations in the city.

"I think that camping is wonderful, but it has its place," said petition organizer Carole Truesdale.

Nineteen RV slots are now set to close in April.

"(It's a) pretty popular program with visitors especially in light of everyone moving to RVs and van life," said Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins.

The city opened the sites in an effort to generate extra revenue for the harbor department.

A group of citizens pushed back, citing concerns over parking, noise, and compatibility.

"We're a fishing village, we have history here and changing the character of our city is daunting to a lot of people," said Truesdale. "It's not that we're against RV camping but this is dry RV camping. There are camping sites where people can go and have showers and facilities and dumping groups. But not on our Embarcadero, that is such a beautiful, pristine location."

The group gathered 869 signatures which accounts for 10% of registered voters in Morro Bay.

They only needed 820 for the city council to take on the issue.

"Based on the number of signatures they gathered, I think council understood 'look, there's probably other avenues of revenue we could pursue that maybe is more popular with our community,'" said Collins.

The city council ultimately adopted an ordinance ending the pilot program.

Some are now expressing frustration that the issue didn't go before voters.

"I was disappointed in the fact that the council voted against having the voices of the citizens heard," said Truesdale.

As for what's next, this citizen-led initiative will become law.

According to the city manager, the RV spots generated more than $100,000 a year for the Morro Bay Harbor Department.

The department is still facing a budget gap of $600,000- $1,000,000 a year.