Morro Bay RV tenting program ended after citizen opposition

Morro Bay is scrapping a pilot program permitting RV tenting alongside the Morro Bay waterfront after it drew the ire of native residents.

On Tuesday, the Metropolis Council voted 4-1 to undertake language into its metropolis code that successfully will finish this system that impressed a citizen petition opposing the town’s fee-based program.

The pilot program established in 2020 allowed RV parking and tent tenting for $65 to $75 per evening in prime designated areas with views of the bay and Morro Rock.

The council will add the language from the residents’ initiative — organized by Morro Bay residents Betty Winholtz, Jim Curnutt and Carole Truesdale — into its municipal code.

The brand new ordinance prohibits RV and tent tenting alongside Embarcadero Highway, together with Tidelands Park, Coleman Drive and Morro Bay parking heaps.

The citizen’s initiative met the required 10% minimal variety of signatures (869 confirmed of the town’s 8,196 registered voters) to take the proposed ordinance to a vote in both the upcoming June or November elections.

However the council determined to not proceed additional with the idea that was within the midst of a Coastal Fee utility for everlasting adoption. That utility now will likely be withdrawn.

“I feel it was vital for council to take a threat but in addition to take heed to the individuals of Morro Bay who elected us,” stated Councilmember Daybreak Addis. “They’ve spoken clearly throughout time, and the message has been very, very clear.”

Town carried out its pilot program to assist generate wanted income for a Harbor Division that’s estimated by Morro Bay officers to be underfunded by “roughly $600,000 to $800,000 per yr over the subsequent 10 years,” the employees report stated.

The RV and tent tenting program went by way of numerous iterations, as the town beforehand eliminated areas resembling three parking spots established alongside Coleman Drive that generated quite a few public complaints.

At current, there are 19 tenting spots being operated by the town in three areas on the designated “Tidelands, Maritime Museum and Morro Creek” websites.

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A map exhibits RV/tent campsites that the town affords to campers. The council voted to successfully finish the RV parking program after citizen opposition. Metropolis of Morro Bay web site

Winholtz stated that residents have voiced complaints concerning the RV tenting program, saying that campers are noisy, depart behind trash and disturb pure settings in areas close to bayside pathways and public areas.

“This places our city again to being quaint,” Winholtz advised The Tribune. “It’s not going to be a parking zone filled with RVs anymore.”

The brand new ordinance crafted by residents will likely be a brief addition to the municipal code. It doesn’t apply to present non-public companies such because the Morro Dunes RV Park, positioned at 1700 Embarcadero Highway.

As soon as added to the town’s books after a second studying at its subsequent assembly, adopted by a 30-day interval earlier than it’s enacted, the ordinance would require a public vote to be modified.

“It has the identical impact as adopting the ordinance by vote, that means that if you wish to unwind (the ordinance), it’s important to return to the voters to unwind it,” stated Scot Graham, the town’s group improvement director.

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Morro Bay examined RV tenting at three areas, together with these 9 websites close to Morro Creek. However residents opposed it and this system is ending attributable to a brand new ordinance. David Middlecamp

Harbor wants

Mayor John Headding stated he appreciated the Harbor Advisory Board’s work in recommending this system to attempt to discover a new strategy to generate income for the self-sustaining Harbor Fund.

The Harbor Division primarily depends on income generated from its Tidelands property leases and isn’t allowed by legislation to obtain any Common Fund allocations.

The company maintains waterfront amenities such because the boardwalk and loos. It additionally supplies boater help, emergency response and code enforcement.

“The Harbor Fund is sick,” Headding stated. “It’s in dire straights, for my part, with regard to not solely the operational wants to extend staffing, however primarily the unmet capital wants.”

The RV and tent tenting program was projected to generate about $115,000 to $155,000 (internet) revenues for the Harbor Fund, $13,500 to $18,500 in Common Fund transient occupancy tax revenues, and $2,000 to $2,800 for the county tourism advertising and marketing district on a long-term annual foundation if completely established.

Headding stated Harbor Division revenues have remained flat over the previous decade, whereas operational prices have elevated 4%, which is a testomony to the Harbor employees’s capacity to handle the price range and maintain prices down.

“The leases won’t ever generate sufficient cash to fund the capital price range wants,” Headding stated. “In years to come back, the (Harbor Fund) will crumble and we’ll be hit with large {dollars} to satisfy the capital wants sooner or later.”

Headding, whereas supporting the citizen’s ordinance and avoiding the method of taking it to a vote, is asking on residents, together with those that opposed RV tenting, to attempt to discover methods to handle the Harbor Division’s funding wants.

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The areas prohibiting RV and tenting as a part of the town of Morro Bay’s new draft ordinance are in checkered blue. Metropolis of Morro Bay

Metropolis officers say federal or state grants will assist however probably gained’t make up the distinction with price range gaps.

“We have to actually garner all the assets that we are able to, together with the group that introduced this ahead, to help us in attempting to find out how you can get a sustainable income stream into the Harbor Division to satisfy future wants,” Headding stated. “Grants gained’t do it.”

“I feel it’s time to proceed to take a look at different concepts, and I be a part of (Headding’s) name,” Addis stated. “I encourage people to assist council, assist employees, assist each other be inventive and discover these funding mechanisms which might be going to be significant and final over time.”

Winholtz stated she believes that the federal infrastructure cash could possibly be a mechanism.

“I feel there’s nice alternative with the price range popping out of Washington to get some grant or mortgage cash,” Winholtz stated.

Councilman Jeff Heller forged the dissenting vote on the ordinance, advocating for altering the prevailing pilot program to attempt to tackle public considerations (eradicating the positioning close to the Maritime Museum website, the place tent and RV parking is allowed).

Heller needed to proceed to generate revenues till there’s a “sustainable funding supply in place.”

“I’m very involved concerning the monetary situation of this division,” Heller stated. “A lot of the Harbor infrastructure was inbuilt World Conflict II and is at the moment failing us. In the event you go on the Harbor stroll in any location, ranging from the loading dock out to the Rock, all it’s important to do is look over the sting of the boulders and see the way it’s eroded and the way it’s undermined.”

This story was initially printed March 9, 2022 12:18 PM.

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Nick Wilson is a Tribune contributor in sports activities. He’s a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is initially from Ojai.


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