The 32-acre Harbor Terrace project near Avila Beach hit another speed bump in August when negotiations between the Harbor District and the HomeFed Corporation broke down. At the Aug. 25 Port San Luis Harbor District meeting, the board officially terminated the agreement with that company, but executed a new agreement with Red Tail Acquisitions to build and operate the camping resort.
Harbor Manager Steve McGrath said HomeFed sent a letter in early August to cease negotiations, citing geological site challenges.
“The site, itself, we have maintained from the start that it’s a challenging site,” McGrath said.
Harbor Terrace has faced several hurdles recently with appeals from the local chapter of the Sierra Club, which fretted about the project’s impact on pelicans. And from local hotelier Michael Kidd, who appealed the project to the SLO County Planning Commission, worried about the project’s impact on area water availability and affordability.
The Harbor Terrace saga has been about 30 years in the making. Permitting in coastal zones can be especially difficult, according to McGrath, but he credited the affordable aspects of the project with getting it through the coastal permitting process.
The project is supposed to have both high-end camping—bungalows, upscale RV spots—and affordable camping. The site includes 80 RV camping spots and 15 RV cabins; 31 cabin-, yurt-, or bungalow-style units; as well as 35 car-camping spots, and 21 spots for walk-in or bike-in campers.
McGrath was confident that the project would move forward with the new partner.
“To develop a project in the coastal zone,” McGrath said, “there are three major considerations: time, cost, and getting the project entitled [getting the coastal permit]. That part we have done. We have already done the heavy lifting.”
McGrath said the project’s not expected to change significantly with the new partner, though some additional measures could be needed to compensate for the location challenges. The site is located on a hill above Avila Beach Drive, near the current RV camping site. That RV campground will be redesigned for picnickers and beach-goers.