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Harbor district approves project to makeover Harford Pier

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REDEVELOPMENT PLANS Once the Port San Luis Harbor District receives approval for its coastal development permit application, it will begin construction beneath the west side of Harford Pier. - COURTESY PHOTO BY ERIN SMITH
  • COURTESY PHOTO BY ERIN SMITH
  • REDEVELOPMENT PLANS Once the Port San Luis Harbor District receives approval for its coastal development permit application, it will begin construction beneath the west side of Harford Pier.

The west side of Harford Pier in Avila Beach is closer to getting its long-awaited facelift after the Port San Luis Harbor District's board of commissioners approved the project at an Oct. 24 meeting.

Harbor District Facilities Manager Chris Munson said that staff has been working on redeveloping the 150-year-old pier for years now.

"I don't know the exact date, but it's been some time, actually, since the Harbor District's conception. When we took over the Harford Pier, it was in complete disrepair," he said.

Munson said that when the pier was first constructed, the only concern was completing it as quickly as possible with the hopes of adding businesses and a restaurant to the end of it, and contractors would worry about addressing the remaining structural problems later.

"We've been rebuilding the entire pier, and just in the last few years, we were able to complete the end of the pier but there were a few missing sections we've been able to replace," he said. "We've just rehabilitated portions of the canopy, which surrounds businesses out there, and now we're working on rebuilding the areas around the Olde Port Inn restaurant."

Staff is working on plans to reconstruct a portion beneath the pier, which the restaurant sits on top of, but that part of the project is on hold, Munson said. With the recent board approval, the team now has to apply for a permit from the California Coastal Commission before construction can continue.

"The next part would be we'd get a coastal development permit or a waiver for it so that we would be allowed to proceed," he said. "The intent of this was just to preserve our existing footprint with some flexibility so that we can move forward on the redevelopment of the west side of the pier."

Munson said that his team could have to wait up to a year for permit approval.

"If it's a waiver, it can be pretty quick, within a few months, but if it goes through the whole permitting process, it can take about a year, so our hope is that it will meet the criteria for a waiver so that we can move forward more quickly," he said.

In order for Munson and his team to get a waiver, they would have to provide a complete project description and plans that include any avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures for the project's potential adverse impacts on coastal resources. Munson said that, at this time, they are still in the process of determining the best course for completing the project.

"In the coming months, the board will discuss actions about how to proceed with the redevelopment because there's a couple different ways we can approach this," he said. "Either our staff can do a lot of the rebuilding or we can put it out for [other] developers, so that decision hasn't been made at this point." Δ

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