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Avila Beach Resort could host larger events 

Amid vocal community opposition, Avila Beach Resort is hoping to expand its current entertainment offerings.

At a Dec. 10 Avila Valley Advisory Council meeting, Jaime Kirk of Kirk Consulting, a local land-use consulting firm, presented the resort's proposal to amend its existing entertainment license to include for-profit events.

click to enlarge BY THE SEA The Avila Beach community opposes Avila Beach Resort's proposal to expand on their entertainment offerings. - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • BY THE SEA The Avila Beach community opposes Avila Beach Resort's proposal to expand on their entertainment offerings.

"Our request of license is intended to not cover new activities but to cover organic growth of existing activities," Kirk said.

Nonprofit events with 3,000 or fewer attendees are allowed under the current license. Co-owner of the resort Rob Rossi said that Avila Beach Resort hosts about eight entertainment events a year.

The resort's application proposes including up to 14 event-days a year. Eight out of the total proposed event-days would be for-profit, commercial, ticketed events that would allow between 3,000 and 5,000 people to attend. Three out of the eight days may be used for three-day festival events.

During public comment, community members raised concerns over parking, the large number of attendees, and emergency evacuation plans, and questioned the lack of oversight on current resort events.

"My objection to the events at the golf course is the fact that they are not permitted and regulated as intended by the county ordinance," resident Dave Humphrey said. "The event impacts are unaddressed, and the county jeopardizes the safety of residents, employees, and visitors."

The division manger of the county's treasurer and tax collector department, Justin Cooley, said that the resort currently just notifies the county planning department and the Avila Valley Advisory Council of upcoming events without a permit or public hearing.

He said this practice stems from a decision made on an event permit application on the resort property in 2004. The then SLO County Board of Supervisors granted the permit, and also voted to allow nonprofit events with fewer than 3,000 attendees on the property without requiring the resort to go through the permit process.

Cooley said his department is compiling all the information it can for a public hearing of the resort's proposal slated for Jan. 29 at the SLO County Board of Supervisors. If community members are interested in providing written comment, they can send it to his office on or before Jan. 14.

"My department is just the facilitator in getting all information to the right departments for review and that includes the planning department, public works, the sheriff, and the health department. We are also making sure Cal Fire and the California Highway Patrol is involved as well," he said.

Resort co-owner Rossi told New Times that the meeting paved the way for ongoing communication between the resort and the residents of Avila Beach.

"I recognize their concerns, and I also feel like we've been a good neighbor," Rossi said. "We're a recreational commercial property and the activities we do, I believe, benefit the community. We provide an opportunity for people that aren't fortunate enough to live here to play in Avila."

In response to community input, Rossi said since the beginning of the year the resort offers free parking for eventgoers and for anyone who else who wants to visit Avila Beach. Δ

Editors Note: This story was edited to clarify that a 2004 Board of Supervisors decision allowed the resort to host nonprofit events without going through a permit process.

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