Opinion: Oceano Dunes debate should wait
–The future of Oceano Dunes State Park is before the California Coastal Commission on Thursday, though REACH, a Central Coast business coalition, is advocating that a decision be postponed.
Why? To start, the region doesn’t currently have a representative on the commission. Any decision with such significant importance to the region should be delayed until the Central Coast District has a seated commissioner.
Further, the commission lacks sufficient data about the economic impacts to support an informed decision on off-highway vehicle use at the park. We therefore urge the commission to conduct independent, objective analyses assessing those impacts, including economic modeling of closure and alternative use scenarios.
On the environmental side, the CEQA process for the California State Parks proposal should be allowed to run its course, independently assessing and addressing environmental and health impacts.
The Commission also must meaningfully solicit the participation of the community most impacted: the residents of Oceano, a majority Hispanic/Latinx community where median household income lags the rest of the county.
The Dunes debate is a complex, emotionally charged one, and credible data and analysis are key to a tenable decision. Read REACH’s full letter to the commission here.
Need a refresher on where things stand? Find a good summary from the Coastal Commission, including State Parks’ proposed expansion, and in-depth coverage at CalMatters.
–Submitted by REACH