Pismo Beach accepts ownership of the Chapman Estate



After a unanimous vote during the Dec. 4 Pismo Beach City Council meeting, the city officially accepted ownership of the iconic, 1 1/2-acre Chapman Estate on the Shell Beach coast.

Clifford Chapman—who owned the estate since 1963 and died in July 2012—directed that the mansion and grounds at 1243 Ocean Blvd. be gifted to the city for public benefit upon his death.

After seeking public input and negotiating with the estate’s current occupant—Don Shidler, Chapman’s life partner—the city got enough of its ducks in a row to seek approval from the council.

Shidler, pending the imminent approval of a special residential lease, will reside in the estate for as long as he chooses. However, the estate will officially be city-owned by year’s end, and a wide variety of special events and nonprofit fundraisers are slotted to take place on the property—as they have for many years.

Though specifics for potential revenue streams, site improvements and maintenance, and various property uses were discussed by the council, City Manager Jim Lewis, and City Planning Manager Carolyn Johnson, the council took no concrete action on those matters.

The council did agree to establish and form the Chapman Estate Oversight Commission, a body that will subsequently debate many of the to-be-determined specifics and logistics. The City Council is set to make appointments to that commission during their Feb. 4 meeting.

“This is an incredibly generous gift from Mr. Chapman, and we are honored to have this property,” said City Manager Jim Lewis.

Lewis said the city would use a $192,000 endowment specifically set aside by Chapman for property improvements to familiarize itself with the property and “get our feet wet” for the first six months of city ownership.

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