A hearing before the County Planning Commission, on whether to approve the controversial Cayucos Del Mar development, yielded mixed results on both sides of the debate. The June 29 hearing saw a large turnout of residents and business owners in opposition to Morro Bay developer Franco DeCicco’s proposed mixed-use project. Now in its third design, the approximate 50,000-square-foot structure would consist of 18 hotel rooms and four residential condominium units. The Planning Commission approved the project 3-1, but required further downsizing of the structure from 30 feet to 22 feet in height, essentially eliminating the third-story. The decision was a small victory for the Concerned Citizens of Cayucos (CCC), who vigorously oppose the project as presently envisioned by DeCicco.
“Last Thursday’s hearing was a step in the right direction, but there are still issues that must be addressed,” said Bruce Payne, a CCC member who cited size, traffic, and environmental concerns as some of the negative impacts the development would have on the community. During the hearing, the CCC presented the Planning Commission with an approximate 1,800-signature petition opposing the project.
The property is located on the corner of Highway 1 and Old Creek Road, a busy intersection, according to CCC members, who argue that the additional vehicles required to excavate the property’s vacant gasoline pump station would significantly disrupt the neighborhood. Also raised at the hearing were issues of parking and the possibility the site may contain Chumash Indian artifacts. Perhaps most important to CCC members is their assertion that the development, as designed, would stand drastically out of place within the neighborhood of mostly single family homes.
“We’re not against development,” said Payne. “The property as it sits now is an eyesore. We’d just like it to be more compatible with the existing neighborhood.”
DeCicco, an Italian immigrant pursuing what he calls the “American dream,” has in the past indicated his willingness to work with the community. He has, however, appealed the commission’s decision, according to his architect Kim Hatch of the SLO-based firm Pults & Associates. The appeal is scheduled to be heard by the County Board of Supervisors sometime in October, Hatch said.