Pismo Beach

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Plans for more affordable, supportive housing in San Luis Obispo County are underway, and the project may signal an end to a south county skirmish over where to place shelter for the homeless. The nonprofit affordable housing developer Peoples' Self-Help Housing (PSHH) met with Pismo Beach officials in September to negotiate a possible location in the city. On Tuesday, the nonprofit announced it had gone into escrow on a new site.

Thomas Wilmer/KCBX News

Summer has arrived on the Central Coast, and that means birthing time for sea lions and large gatherings of sea lions and other marine mammals. But something in San Luis Obispo County ocean waters may be affecting the behavior of area marine mamals. A recent video went viral of a sea lion biting a Paso Robles teenager at a south San Luis Obispo County beach. It's a rare event that could be the result of toxic algal blooms. 

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San Luis Obispo County roadways are getting a big chunk of money for improvements, more than a quarter of a billion dollars' worth.

Marisa Waddell/KCBX

Professional cyclists racing in the Amgen Tour of California wrapped up Stage 3 of the race in Morro Bay late Tuesday afternoon. Slovakian racer Peter Sagan was the winner of the stage, a 120-mile course that started in Pismo Beach and wound through the streets of San Luis Obispo. 

Greta Mart

Before and after the recreational use of cannabis became legal in California with the passage of Proposition 64, officials in several Central Coast cities have passed urgency ordinances to temporarily ban commercial cultivation and distribution of the plant. 

KCBX

Responding to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana statewide, on Tuesday Pismo Beach officials passed a 45-day ban on all stages of production and retail sales of cannabis. 

Flickr member James Bachleda

Water conservation numbers are in for June., the first month covered under Governor Jerry Brown's statewide rationing mandate—and Central Coast locations either met or exceeded target rates.

City of Pismo Beach

One of the candidates running for the 3rd District San Luis Obispo County Supervisor seat is dropping out of the race. 

Randol White, KCBX News

The State Water Board announced Tuesday that is prepared to distribute $625 million for water recycling projects throughout the state, including a few projects located along the Central Coast.

Another candidate is adding her name to the 2016 race for San Luis Obispo County's District 3 Supervisor Seat, which includes portions of San Luis Obispo, Edna Valley, Avila Beach and the Five Cities.

Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham, who just won re-election back in November by a very close margin, announced Monday her decision to run. She now joins San Luis Obispo City Council Member Dan Carpenter and former Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson in their efforts to unseat Adam Hill.

Hill has served the district since 2009.

Courtney Winters, City of Pismo Beach

Organizers from the Amgen Tour of California are planning to work with residents of Avila Beach, who will host the end of Stage 4 this coming May.

Stage 4 starts in Pismo Beach and ends in Avila Beach, two neighboring communities about six miles apart. But, the race will tack on an addition 100 miles to the route, taking riders into northern Santa Barbara County and through Arroyo Grande on the return trip.

Flickr member Greg Hewgill

A process to place the monarch butterfly on the federal Endangered Species List is underway. It's part of an effort to protect it from rapidly declining numbers.

Over the past several years, the annual count for monarch butterflies has seen a gradual upswing at the popular grove in Pismo Beach. Cal Poly Professor Denis Frey has been tabulating the local migration numbers since the early 90s, and has shown wide swings in peak totals, according to the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove website.

Recount settles close race for Pismo Beach Mayor

Nov 25, 2014

A requested recount now confirms the original vote totals in the race for Mayor of Pismo Beach, where a two vote margin determined incumbent Shelly Higginbotham edged out challenger Kevin Kreowski.

The Mayor herself contributed to Kreowski's recount fund, an estimated $3000 required by San Luis Obispo County to initiate the process.

Recount requested in race for Mayor of Pismo Beach

Nov 21, 2014

The two vote victory for Mayor of Pismo Beach will face a manual recount starting on Monday morning, November 24, 2014.

Incumbent Mayor Shelly Higginbotham edged out challenger Kevin Kreowski by just two votes back on November 4. Those vote totals were certified on Wednesday, giving the candidates five days to request a recount.

Kreowski was able to raise the roughly $3000 needed to pay for the request with a portion of that money donated by Mayor Higginbotham.

County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald estimates the manual tally will take two days.

Flickr member Vox Efx

UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 14, 2015 at 6:10 p.m.  

With no remaining ballots left to be counted, Incumbent Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly HIgginbotham is declared the winner over challenger Kevin Kreowski by just two votes.

The race had been as narrow as one vote, as of the previous count tally.

The final San Luis Obispo County election numbers were released late Friday afternoon. A recount will not take place unless one of the candidates calls for one.

ARROYO GRANDE

Courtney Winters, City of Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach, Avila Beach and Santa Barbara are three of the host cities chosen to represent the state during the Amgen Tour of California next May.

The host cities were announced Monday for what will mark the tenth year of America's largest cycling race.

Stage 5 has participants starting in Santa Barbara and riding to Santa Clarita. Both cities have hosted the event six times.

Stage 4 will take the riders from Pismo Beach to Avila Beach—a rather short distance for a stage that's not a designated time trial.

Save Ontario Ridge Facebook Page

 A popular hiking trail on the San Luis Obispo County Coast is set to be reopened to the public by next weekend.

The California Coastal Commission announced today that the Ontario Ridge Trail connecting Pismo Beach with Pirates Cove will have public access restored by the 17th. Land owners Robert and Judith McCarthy of Bakersfield have agreed to remove fencing and signs they had installed several months ago at the trail entrance.

Plans to build a large hotel next to the Pismo Beach pier are moving forward after a unanimous vote Tuesday night by the City Council.

The plans had previously been approved by the Planning Commission, but the project was appealed last month by residents forcing it to be heard by the council.

The 104-room hotel has plans for a rooftop pool, restaurant and commercial retail space. There is also a business center and convention space.

Underground parking remains part of the plan, but had some adjustments made by the council.

SLO Land Conservancy

The 900-acre parcel of land comprising the hills overlooking Pismo Beach officially became known as the Pismo Preserve Tuesday morning.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County says it closed escrow and took ownership of the property at 10:00 a.m.

The organization raised $12.3 million this year to buy the land and make improvements, plus it finalized all the paperwork to switch it over to public use.

Kaila Dettman - The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County

UPDATE: August 28, 2014 at 6:12 p.m.  

It's now official, funds to buy 900 acres of land above Pismo Beach to form a public space area known at the Pismo Preserve have been secured, according to The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County.

The organization says it got word from the State of California on Thursday that an expected donation of $4 million came through.

The Conservancy's Kaila Dettman told KCBX Thursday afternoon that escrow proceedings have begun on the property. The process could be complete in early-to-mid September.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County - video still

Efforts to fund a new public hiking space in the hills overlooking Pismo Beach may soon have an unexpected source of money.

SLOCOG, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments had set aside money for upgrades to the Pirate's Cove area. However, the California Coastal Commission only approved a small portion of the proposed improvements leaving an estimated $175,000 on the table for another project.

Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County

The push to create an open space park above the Pismo Beach area just got a large contribution toward the effort's overall $12-million dollar fundraising goal.

The trust of the late Harold Miossi is giving $100,000 to The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County's Pismo Preserve conservation effort.

Miossi was a former San Luis Obispo County rancher who worked on a number of local environmental projects over the years.

Developers looking to build a large hotel and convention center near the Pismo Beach Pier now have permission to start work on the project.

The city's planning commission voted unanimously in favor of the facility at Tuesday night's meeting.

The applicants, an investment group based in Santa Barbara, have approval to build a structure that contains a 104-unit hotel.

The designs also call for nearly 1800 square feet for retail shops, more than 2100 square feet of meeting space, and an underground parking garage. 

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County - video still

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County is working to acquire a 900 acre private ranch and turn it into public lands surrounding Pismo Beach. It's called the Pismo Preserve, and the group still needs nearly a half a million dollars to achieve the goal.

Organizers hope this Sunday's Jazz and Blues Festival at Dinosaur Caves Park will help.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County - video still

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to use $1.1 million dollars as part of an effort to buy land that could one day make up the Pismo Preserve.

"Thrillingly we just approved $1.1 million!" Supervisor Adam Hill, whose district includes the proposed project, said in an email to KCBX.

The money will come from a fund known as the Park Public Facility Fee.

Pismo Beach City Council votes to allow goats

May 20, 2014
Facebook page: Goatee "The Surfing Goat"

UPDATE: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 10:41 a.m.—

The Pismo Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to have city staff write up an ordinance to allow residents to keep up to four goats with an annual permit.

Goats would be allowed in public parks as well.

The council voted 4-1, with the only one dissenting vote from council member Mary Ann Reiss. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2014—

The Pismo Beach City Council will consider changing its policy on goats within city limits at Tuesday night's meeting.

VIDEO: Pismo Pier start to Stage 5 of Amgen Tour

May 15, 2014
Courtney Winters, City of Pismo Beach

The temperature was hovering near 90 degrees as the Amgen Tour of California's Stage 5 kicked off along the Pismo Beach pier Thursday morning, well above normal for mid-May along the Central Coast.

Suzen Brasil with the City of Pismo Beach estimates some 5000 people showed up to cheer the riders at the pier and on connecting streets.

The route first took riders to Arroyo Grande for a sprint down Branch Street, then to a sizzling Santa Ynez Valley, up and over the San Marcos pass on Highway 154, with a finish finally in Santa Barbara around 4:00 p.m.

Verification is currently underway on  919 signatures submitted to the City of Pismo Beach this week, aimed at limiting a large development that has the potential to double the size of the city.

The group Save Price Canyon is hoping to get an initiative on this November's ballot, and turned in hundreds more signatures than are needed to qualify.

Prayer will no longer be a part of Pismo Beach City Council meetings following a unanimous vote last night by the three council members in attendance.

The decision resolves a lawsuit brought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and a member of Atheists United SLO asking the city to end the practice.

The Pismo Beach city manager says the council's move was made to avoid a costly trial using taxpayer funds. As part of the settlement, the city agreed to pay the plaintiffs' legal fees of $47,500. In addition, the position of city chaplain was abolished.

Public support growing for Pismo Preserve

Mar 26, 2014
Kaila Dettman - The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County

Public support is growing for a plan to set aside a large chunk of land in San Luis Obispo County as scenic open space. It's called the Pismo Preserve, 900 acres that encompass much of the land to the northeast of Pismo Beach and Highway 101.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County says tens of thousands of dollars in matching funds have gone a long way to help reach the project's goal.