Sierra Club ditches 'moot' Spanish Springs suit



On Oct. 25, the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club dropped its lawsuit against the now-nixed environmental impact report (EIR) for the proposed Spanish Springs development in Price Canyon.

Though this was an expected action—as the Pismo Beach City Council has beat a hasty retreat from Spanish Springs in recent weeks—it threw the status of the Price Canyon developments into even further limbo and galvanized those who oppose the developments.

Santa Lucia Chapter Director Andrew Christie said the lawsuit was based on the inadequacy of the EIR—initially approved by the council on June 18. When the council subsequently revoked the EIR on Oct. 1 in the face of significant public pressure, the suit was rendered moot.

“The Pismo Beach City Council bungled this project to an astonishing degree,” said Babak Naficy, attorney for the Sierra Club. “It’s as though the council was trying to do everything wrong.”

Pismo Beach City Manager Jim Lewis said the council was merely being responsive to citizen concerns when it rescinded the EIR.

“The EIR will need substantial alterations to be re-submitted, and the developers will have to wait at least 12 months,” Lewis said. “It’s up to the developers at this point, but there’s a good deal of work that needs to be done, and it will be a very long process at this point.”

Christie said he expected the developers to come back with a modified or completely different project, likely with a different name to avoid the stigma conjured up by “Los Robles Del Mar” or “Spanish Springs.”

“As these developments go down in flames and relevant council members are up for re-election, now is the time to get an initiative on the ballot to get land-use planning and re-zoning out of the council’s purview,” Christie said.

Representatives from Save Price Canyon, a recently formed citizen coalition dedicated to “protect and sustain the environmental quality of the Price Canyon area for the public benefit,” said they’re currently debating putting forward such an initiative after witnessing the EIR controversy.

The group is holding a fundraiser on Nov. 2, though the group said the exact nature and timing of a potential ballot initiative are still undecided.

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