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Nude for now

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The fate of SLO County’s best-known clothing-optional beach, Pirate’s Cove, dangles pendulously in the breeze as it gets shifted from a notorious private hotspot to an official public beach.

County supervisors gave the final vote to purchase 37 acres of property near Avila and begin converting it for public use. Pirate’s Cove and surrounding areas will be in a sort of escrow period while the county fixes a few hazardous access stairways and walkways before officially accepting the property in another year or two. The total purchase was $1.25 million and came out of public facility fees.

Pirate’s Cove regulars are concerned they may have to zip up once the beach officially becomes county property, but for now there is no intention of nixing any nudity there. A county ordinance banning clothing-optional beaches is required to slap clothes on the beach-goers. Deputy Parks Director Pete Jenny said there’s no reason to draft such a ban as far as he’s concerned.

“We’re not here to be the modesty police,” he said.

The preliminary staff report stated that a countywide ban would be considered, but, Jenny said, that was only provided to lay out all the potential considerations. Others may push for a ban, which would take a board majority to approve, but for now the only issue will likely be more public access to a historically private beach. A nudity ban is not mentioned in the latest staff recommendations and as long as Jenny has final say, he said, it won’t be.

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