SLO County officials are hoping that a low-scale project at the Cave Landing parking lot above Pirate's Cove can put to rest a years-old dispute with coastal access advocates over how to address continued safety concerns at the site.
The county's latest plan involves putting in trash cans and bike racks, informational signs, and ADA parking spots, along with boulders for stormwater management and natural rock material to level the surface of the parking lot. It also includes designing the entrance to make it easy to install a future gate.
The goal, according to County Parks Director Nick Franco, is to put forth a project that will be acceptable to the public and the Coastal Commission. The Coastal Commission rejected a more elaborate plan, which would've closed the site at night, in 2014.
"I want a project that can be permitted," Franco said.
Franco held a public workshop at the PG&E Energy Education Center near Avila Beach on Feb. 26 to receive feedback about the preliminary design. One of the chief concerns expressed by public access advocates is that the design eliminated too much parking—an estimated 26 spots.
"That's not acceptable," community member Brian LoConte told Franco.
Some residents concerned about safety at the site said the plan didn't do enough to address that—pointing to a recent armed robbery incident at Cave Landing on Feb. 18. Franco said the county's plan would include ranger supervision of the area and a deep clean of Pirate's Cove. But that can't happen until the project gets approved.
"Essentially the property is county-owned property that's not yet in the parks system," Franco said. "Since it's not in the parks system, we're not patrolling it or doing anything with it."
Overall public feedback on the design was positive, Franco said, and now designers will work to tweak the plans to preserve more parking before moving forward to the permitting process. Δ