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Avila survey asks for vacation rental, event input

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A SLO County survey regarding the Avila Beach Community Plan is open online and awaiting community responses, and if you care about coastal access, parking, vacation rentals, and community events in Avila Beach, you might want to consider logging on and giving your two cents.

TWO CENTS The Avila Beach Community Plan Survey, which is available online until Aug. 17, is a chance for the public to share their thoughts on land use issues in Avila Beach. - FILE PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • File Photo By Karen Garcia
  • TWO CENTS The Avila Beach Community Plan Survey, which is available online until Aug. 17, is a chance for the public to share their thoughts on land use issues in Avila Beach.

Avila Beach has been working to draft its community plan since October 2016, with only one public workshop remaining. The Avila Beach Community Plan Survey, which will be available online until Aug. 17, is one of the last chances for members of the public to make their voices heard before SLO County presents its draft plan in December 2020.

The survey questions largely center on land use and hit on everything from a potential parking lot paving project at Pirate's Cove to capping the vacation rentals allowed in the town of Avila Beach.

"'Land use' is sometimes seen as jargon," said Kimberly Nguyen, a SLO County long-range planner, "but it just refers to what you can build on a property and what sort of activity you can expect to take place on it. We are looking at specific areas in Avila and asking things like, 'Do you envision new residential growth here, or commercial stores, or open space?' It's important to get feedback on land use because it informs our decisions and overall vision for Avila over the next 20 years."

At a virtual public workshop on July 25, Nguyen and other planners discussed some of the issues addressed in the survey at length, and shared the potential solutions.

Some of Avila's most contentious issues include vacation rentals and community events, and the noise and crowding they bring. At the July 25 workshop, Rincon Consultants Outreach Specialist Sarah Howland said that vacation rentals account for roughly 17 percent of Avila's entire housing supply. She also said that the number of temporary community events held in Avila Beach increased by 56 percent between 2013 and 2017.

Howland said there are plenty of ways to reduce the traffic and parking issues—like putting a cap on the number of vacation rentals allowed in town, requiring event hosts to provide shuttles to and from events—but the county hopes to get the community's input on the possible solutions. Δ

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