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Is this the final nail for the Morro Bay/Cayucos wastewater project?

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It seems the long-fought battle to build a new wastewater treatment facility in a controversial location in Morro Bay is being put to rest.

On July 10, City Manager Andrea Lueker e-mailed members of the City Council, informing them of a phone call she received from top commission staffer Dan Carl, who said the commission intends to formally deny the project at its present location.

“I have just gotten off the phone with Dan Carl of the California Coastal Commission and he has relayed to me that the preliminary staff recommendation to the Coastal Commission will be for denial of the WWTP project,” Lueker wrote.

She went on to report that the cause behind the denial was likely based “primarily on hazard avoidance and secondarily public access, reclamation, and visuals.”

The reported denial wouldn’t be an official part of the public record until the commission releases its official staff report containing its recommendation.

A member of commission staff verified that the report is likely to be completed on July 20. City Attorney Rob Shultz told New Times the city will need to review the report before making any comments on the decision.

A majority of the Joint Powers Authority comprising the Morro Bay City Council and Cayucos Sanitation District Board of Directors has remained steadfast in its proposal to erect the plant at a site in Estero Bay. The project was originally rejected by the California Coastal Commission in January 2011, but JPA officials appealed the decision.

The Commission had long had a number of concerns about the project, including its proposed location within a 100-year flood zone.

Regardless of the outcome, local representatives are scheduled for a hearing on the project before the Coastal Commission on Aug. 9.

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