After hearing from more than a hundred local residents during hours of public testimony on Aug. 21, SLO County supervisors voted 3 to 1 for the least stringent of the various proposals for protecting the scenic viewshed around Cayucos.
The supervisors tentatively approved a plan submitted by a group of landowners in the area called Protect Our Property Rights the SLO County Farm Bureau, and the Cattlemen's Association, calling for protecting views of ridgetops within one mile of Highway 1, between Toro Creek Road to the south and Villa Creek Road to the north of Cayucos. Other proposals on the table covered larger areas.
The controversial issue has been simmering for years, with large turnouts of proponents and opponents speaking out at the various meetings.
County planning staff showed a graphic video simulation of the scenic rural lands around Cayucos at the Aug. 21 meeting, demonstrating how new houses might silhouette against the sky, even when not built on ridgetops.
"I'm very disappointed. It's a huge step backwards," said District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson, after the meeting.
Gibson has campaigned for strong viewshed protection, but could not vote on the issue because he owns property in the area.
Supervisor Jim Patterson, the lone vote against the scaled-back plan, called it "no viewshed protection at all."
County Farm Bureau Executive Director Jackie Crabb welcomed the vote, supporting Supervisor Jerry Lenthall's suggestion that the effectiveness of the ordinance can be reviewed after two years. She said Farm Bureau members who live in the Cayucos rural area supported limiting the ordinance to Highway 1.
Supervisors have asked the Planning Commission to review the recommended ordinance before its scheduled adoption in late November.