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Rants & Raves

Pismo Beach Building & Planning Department – My Experience

We have purchased a lovely vacant lot in the seaside town of Pismo Beach, CA. and hope to build a home. Hope, the key word. 2 years and counting into the process, plenty of curveballs and surprises.

A wise friend shared this most-zen insight, “Forest, most of our problems in life are with our expectations… change your expectations, and suddenly problems disappear”. Indeed, my initial expectation for the project was that we could hire an architect, get plans approved by the city of Pismo Beach’s Planning and Building Permit bureaucracy, secure a general contractor/builder, dive-in, and within 2-3 years from start, have a new primary home to live in.

Things have been going horribly wrong,

if that were to remain my expectation.

But, this week i changed my expectation. I now hope to build a new home in Pismo Beach in less than 10 years. Anything between now, and 2029, i will consider a wild success. Suddenly, we are doing GREAT. We are right on track.

I will share some of my experience here for the benefit of others who are considering buying and building on a vacant lot in either Pismo Beach, or more generally, the central-coast area of california (Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo, Los Osos and Morro Bay, Nipomo… this general area).

I have thoughts to share about:

  • Difficulties in finding architects for primary home build projects on the California Central-Coast
  • What to expect when interacting with Pismo City Planning Department staff. Their style, competencies, general approach to customer-service and collaboration + partnership.
  • What to expect when interacting with Pismo City Planning Commission (review committee for approval of design and land-use)
  • What to expect from the lovely fire staff
  • The wonderful community filled with friendly neighbors and colorful locals in Shell Beach, Pismo Heights, and town center.

Ping me in the comments if you are thinking of your own project and want to compare notes!