At the edge of the Pacific Ocean
In April 2016, our family decided to share the amazing beauty and serenity of our 34-acre property in Cambria, California, with people besides our friends and family members.
We listed a handful of camping spots on AirBnB® and soon welcomed guests from all over the world on our meadow at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
We hosted guests from Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Iceland, China, India, Ireland, France, Nepal, and many other foreign countries around the world, as well as from closer places, such as Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Georgia, New York, Rhode Island and of course…from California.
Some of the pictures on these pages were taken by our guests. I thank them for sharing their memories here.
It was a wonderful and enjoyable time for us, to have such diverse, interesting and amazing people on our property and to get to meet and talk to them.
In their online comments and reviews, many of our guests write that their stay here was a most unique and positive experience, and express their desire to come and camp here again, in the future.
A few months later, the County of San Luis Obispo Code Enforcement ordered us to shut down our small camp site, because we did not have a permit to host tent campers on our property.
Because of the overwhelmingly positive feedback from our guests, and our own enjoyment of hosting them on our property, we decided to apply for a permit for the camping, and to revitalize some of the existing buildings, for the use and enjoyment of our future guests.
When we visited the Planning Department to apply, we were informed that the land use permit we needed, would be a discretionary one. It required public hearings and would be decided by a vote of the County’s Board of Supervisors .
With a favorable outcome, the application would then be reviewed by the California Coastal Commission for final approval or denial.
The application we filed will determine the applied-for land use on the property only, and does not include any other necessary permits, which we will need to secure later, like construction permits, electrical permits, plumbing permits, etc..
Four weeks later, the county’s Planning Department issued us a laundry list of surveys, reports, demands and conditions that we would have to comply with, before they would even consider discussing the permit.
Because the permit is discretionary, we don’t have a right to it, by law. So we may get it or we may not. But many of the demands that the county’s departments issued, are making it nearly impossible to realize our project.
Fortunately, several of these demands are equally discretionary!
Such discretionary demands are not required by law or by code, but are based on opinions of individual representatives of these departments.
The Board of Supervisors may be moved to dismiss some of those opinion-based demands, and to vote in favor of the land-use permit…
…if we can show strong support for our project by the public.
Meaning by YOU.
We would be very happy to open our property again, for people from around the state, the country, and the world, to camp on California’s Central Coast, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, and to experience their beauty and magnificence, from the unique vista of a historic US Air Force Radar Station.
Please endorse our application by signing this petition, so we can sensibly improve our site and welcome guests to our unique property again.
Thank you for your support.
Project Description of the Application
We here propose the development of:
1.) A low-intensity, tent-camping, visitor-serving facility with 25 tent camping spaces and following guest facilities:
2.) A gymnasium for indoor sports, such as dance, yoga, aerobics, gymnastics, and similar.
3.) An outdoor sports-facility utilizing the existing multi-sports court.
4.) A facility for vocational and educational seminars and retreats.
5.) A teaching-greenhouse for gardening seminars and workshops.
6.) A food and beverage serving restaurant.
7.) A museum focusing on the military history of the property as a US Air Force Radar Station during the Cold War.
8.) A coffee shop / convenience store
9.) A caretaker’s residence for security purposes and for continuous supervision, or care, of the guests, meadows, equipment, and general maintenance on the site.
The campsite is proposed to be situated on the western part of the property, on the present meadows, without disturbing the present landscape, or removal of present vegetation.
All the buildings for the intended activities are already in existence, built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and only in need of renovation, except for the new greenhouse.
The restaurant, museum, workshops, greenhouse, coffee shop, and convince store are incidental to the camping facilities and will be available ONLY to guests who are occupants of the campsite, to limit the maximum number of guests that will be on our property at any given time, to a maximum of about 100 (4 persons per camping space) plus residents and employees.
The buildings housing the vocational workshops will also be available to the camping guests as shelters during bad weather.
Max B. Schaefers
Host and Project Manager at BKS Cambria, LLC.
“It was an absolutely amazing location. A hidden gem along the central coast. Cool old buildings and a great view of the pacific. Fell asleep to the sound of birds, and sea lions on the beach. Max was a great host making us feel right at home. Will definitely be back on our next trip.” – Jake.