San Luis Obispo County residents have a little more than a month to voice their opinions about a plan that will shape the future of development, recreation, and conservation in Avila Beach.
In May, after nearly five years of work, SLO County Planning and Building published a 241-page draft of the Avila Community Plan, which aims to guide land use and related policies in Avila Beach until 2050. Community members have until Aug. 13 to review the proposed plan and submit comments.
Although an update to the Avila Community Plan was authorized by the SLO County Board of Supervisors in 2016 to address community concerns around traffic congestion and safety, longtime Avila Beach resident Sherri Danoff said the proposed plan doesn't adequately tackle those issues.
"Safety is the main concern that I have," Danoff said.
Avila Beach is a tiny community with only around 1,300 residents, but it hosts thousands of visitors each weekend, especially in summer months. With only one road in and out, Danoff said evacuating during a wildfire, earthquake, or other emergency could prove problematic. The draft plan describes several potential emergency evacuation routes, but Danoff said all of them have their own practicality problems, which are detailed in a June 25 newsletter published by the Concerned Citizens for Avila.
Danoff and other members of Concerned Citizens for Avila say they'd like to see more details regarding emergency evacuations and events at the Avila Beach Golf Resort, a business that has long been embroiled in a debate with some residents over parking, traffic, and noise.
Third District Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg said that while she's still reviewing the draft plan, she's not sure there will ever be a perfect solution to the problems in Avila. She's looking forward to considering the various evacuation routes and other possible land use issues.
"I think that I share the community's concerns in regards to safety," Ortiz-Legg said. "I think that is the most important piece, is making sure that we're able to keep our community and our visitors safe." Δ