6/24/16 – Conversations continue on future of land surrounding Diablo Canyon Power Plant
Publish Date: 6/24/2016
By: Brooke Martell
Around 12,000 acres surround the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Of that, 2,100 acres make up Wild Cherry Canyon. It’s one of three parcels known as the “Diablo Canyon Lands.” Currently, the land is owned by PG&E but leased by HomeFed, a development corporation based in Carlsbad.
Tom Blessent, a development manager with the corporation, says the company has a leasehold agreement with the property, and currently uses the land for a cattle ranch. In a quarterly report released by HomeFed, the corporation said it is pursuing fee title of the property.
Blessent says the corporation is looking at a number of ways to develop the land.
“In the residential kind of a scenario, the plan was always to develop ten percent of the property and preserve 90 percent of it,” Blessent said. “In a recreational scenario, we would only be developing two percent of the property and the other 98 percent would be in some kind of open space.”
The future of the land has been brought to the attention of locals before. Back in 2000, San Luis Obispo County voters were presented with Measure A, which stated that upon decommissioning of Diablo Canyon Power Plant, PG&E should make the surrounding land available for public access.
Kara Woodruff lives in San Luis Obispo and is a member of the “Friends of Wild Cherry Canyon,” a group of conservationists looking to make the 2,100 acres surrounding Diablo Canyon open to the public for recreational use.
“Our vision for the land is that Montaña de Oro would stretch all the way from its existing boundaries, clear through the Irish Hills, touching Avila Beach,” Woodruff said.
In order to make that happen, she said a conservancy group would have to raise all the money to buy the land. Back in 2013, the American Land Conservancy attempted to conserve the land, but fell short of raising the $21 million needed to acquire the land.
“Opening up a state park won’t solve all the problems, but it might be a small piece in the really large puzzle that the community has to work out with the exit of Diablo Canyon,” Woodruff said.
Blair Jones, a spokesman with PG&E, says this week’s news about the 2025 closure of Diablo Canyon does not concern or change anything with Wild Cherry Canyon.
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