The Cayucos Land Conservancy, the Trust for Public Lands and the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County together with the San Luis Obispo County and the City of Morro Bay, have been working to find a conservation solution for Chevron’s former tank farm between Cayucos and Morro Bay. The State Coastal Conservancy recently agreed to provide $1,000,000 of “seed money” to fund what we hope is the first phase of a multi-phased project which will protect key parts of the Chevron property.
If the first phase goes well, it will protect roughly 270 acres east of Highway 1, and approximately 15 acres of coastal land (from Cayucos to Morro Bay) west of Highway 1. In doing so, it will secure land needed for the construction of the Cayucos-Morro Bay connector trail. It will also put ownership of the popular dog beach into the City of Morro Bay’s ownership for management and full public use, guaranteeing access to this special community amenity in perpetuity. This transaction would also involve the Cayucos Sanitation District and allow the CSD to use the inland parcels for underground infrastructure to support its new wastewater treatment plant on Toro Creek Road. This and subsequent phases will prevent development in the viewsheds of Cayucos and Morro Bay, and will protect the open space between the communities which is integral to maintaining the distinct identities of the two coastal towns.
The project is far from guaranteed – we are still in negotiations with Chevron, and are in the process of raising the funds for phase one of the project. We are pursuing a range of different public and private grant sources. An appraisal of the fair market value of the property is underway, so our budget of 5 to 6 million dollars is currently an estimate and does not represent a final sale price of the property. The Coastal Conservancy grant is a key first step in our fundraising efforts. Our goal is to raise sufficient public and private funds to be able to convey the property to the County and to the City of Morro Bay at little or no cost. The goal for completion of the first phase is early in 2020 but it could well be much later.
When viewing the accompanying map PLEASE note that for Phase I several very important variables including, lot configurations, cost and ownership must still be finalized and that Phase 2 is best described as a potential future phased area.
cover photo by Susan Lyon.