Harbor commissioners this month cleared the way for a 160-campsite development near Harford Pier in Avila Beach.
And while some citizens express concern over increased traffic to the location, those same citizens also rejected the idea widening the roadway.
The Port San Luis Harbor Commission approved a 50-year lease with RTA Harbor Terrace, which will develop 57 RV pads/sites, 53 walk‐in and drive‐in tent camping sites and a variety of 51 RV cabins. The Avila Beach District has sought to develop the Harbor Terrace, a stretch of land located near the Diablo Canyon Power Plant entrance since 1977.
Harbor Terrace will feature a lodge, swimming pool, restaurant/café, recreation facilities and other visitor amenities. Existing uses, including the Fishermen’s Gear Storage, Trailer Boat Storage and Harbor Use Area, will remain on the site and continue to be used in the operations of the Port, according to the Port’s press release.
With the Coastal Development Permit in place, RTA is working on the final designs, according to the Port San Luis Harbor District, and plans to break ground on the project in the spring/summer of 2019. The project is tentatively expected to take 8 months to complete.
According to the leasing contract available online at https://www.portsanluis.com/DocumentCenter/View/3235, RTA will deposit the budgeted amounts into the RTA Harbor Terrace LLC account and will deliver proof of funds to the District, in a total amount of $7,956,921.00 (Section 4.1.6.).
The fund will be doled out in 5 phases, as follows:
Phase 1 – Design & Processing and Processing Fees in the amount of $600,000.00.
Phase 2 – Grading and Underground Utilities in the amount of $1,722,689.00.
Phase 3 – Site improvements (Roads/Walls), Off-site improvements, Lighting and Harbor Uses in the amount of $1,67’1,014.00.
Phase 4 – Commercial Buildings & Restrooms, Landscaping, Parking and Building Permits in the amount of $’1,957,373.00.
Phase 5 = RV/Campsite improvements in the amount of $2,005,845.00.
The influx of monies will be a boon to the harbor district that has struggled to find financing for such things as the badly deteriorated Avila Beach Pier. Recent proposals to fix the tourist attraction have included shortening the 1600-foot pier to 900 feet in an attempt to whittle the expense down to $10 million.
Jim Hartig who is the chairperson of the Avila Advisory Committee (AVAC), a community advisory council that advocates the interests of the residents of Avila Valley, says although not perfect, he is confident that the lease has been well vetted by the beach community.
“It’s gone through AVAC,” said Hartig, “all the communities have had plenty of time to give input on it. Like all projects is it what everybody wants, exactly, precisely? No. But overall does it have good community support? Yes.”
There are concerns that the only paved road to and from the location, Avila Beach Dr., will suffer from the increased traffic to the area. The heavily traveled two-lane road which hosts a lot of foot/bike traffic and off-road parking will further clog the narrow strip with large RV’s.
However, in an Envision Avila meeting that sought the input from locals about widening the stretch of road was answered with a resounding ‘no’ by a show of hands. One attendee of the meeting said that they did not want the drive to become a “highway.”
By Mark A. Diaz