San Simeon, Calif., Jan. 14, 1998 - The more than one million visitors from throughout California and every corner of the world who visit the spectacular Hearst Castle each year will one day be able to choose from family accommodations right on the fabled Hearst Ranch, one of the largest working cattle and agriculture ranches on the California coast.
Castle visitors, plus others who pass by the Castle as they savor the
scenic drive between San Francisco and Los
Angeles along picturesque Highway One, will have the opportunity to:
"We are very pleased that millions of visitors have found the Castle
such a fascinating cultural, historical and
educational experience," comments George Hearst Jr., Chairman of the Hearst Corporation.
"We want to add to that experience by providing an opportunity to stay
right on the ranch in comfortable family
accommodations with nearby dining, shopping, golf, horseback riding, hiking and swimming.
"We'll do it just like we've done it for 130 years, with care and concern
for the natural beauty of our land. "I think our neighbors would agree,"
adds Hearst, "in the 130 years we've owned the ranch, we've been good
stewards of the land and never tried to exploit it or endanger its magnificent environment and natural resources."
The plan could unfold over 15 years as four phases of visitor facilities
open near the existing staging area for
Castle tours. The basic plans were approved by the County of San Luis Obispo and the California Coastal
Commission in the 1980's, with only limited update amendments remaining to be certified by the Coastal
Commission in January of 1998.
The four phases include:
|Phase One: The Staging Area Ranch Lodge Resort, to be built
on a 28-acre site just below the Hearst Castle visitor center, featuring
a 225-room lodge; restaurants, coffee shop and meeting rooms; retail shops
offering gifts, art reflecting the coastal region, and specialty items
inspired by the Hearst Castle, and a 100-bed youth hostel or a 50-site
Phase Two: The San Simeon Village Resort, to be built on three acres at Old San Simeon Village, where the existing William Randolph Hearst Memorial Park public beach and marina is located, a gift to the county by Hearst in the mid-1950's. It features a 50-room ranch inn resort; and restaurants, galleries and specialty boutiques in a festive retail setting.
Phase Three: San Simeon Golf Resort, to be built within a 248-acre area nearby Old San Simeon Village, within an easy stroll of trails and vistas on San Simeon Point. Under recent amendments approved by the County, the Point itself will be further protected. Phase three features a 250-room resort hotel, a public golf course and club house, restaurants and meeting rooms, and public trails on San Simeon Point.
Phase Four: Pine Forest Lodge and Equestrian Resort, to be built on 50 acres at the south end of the Hearst Ranch, adjacent to Pico Creek and the community of San Simeon Acres, featuring a 125-room western style resort with equestrian facilities, restaurants, stables and riding trails. The four-phase plan involves only 350 acres of the vast 77,000-acre Hearst Ranch. "The plan represents less than one half of one percent of the total Hearst acreage, and is dedicated exclusively to visitor service facilities, not housing or outside commercial development," says Philip M. Battaglia, who has been Hearst's representative for move than 20 years.
The original plans were created by Hearst more than 20 years ago and
have been considerably down-sized and
revised, with several site relocations and numerous compromises by Hearst in response to concerns of
environmentalists, governmental agencies and local citizen groups.
Even down-sized, the first three phases alone are projected to result
in an investment of more than $100 million
with a $24 million construction payroll, more than 650 full-time jobs, $3 million in taxes annually to the General
Fund, plus more than $1 million annually to schools, libraries and hospitals.
"Working men and women support the Hearst Ranch Resorts plan because
we know the economic benefits will
mean jobs, income, careers and recreational opportunities for our families," states Andrew J. Moynagh, Executive
Secretary of the Building and Construction Trades Council. "We've studied the resulting economic impact for our
local communities and give the project our enthusiastic endorsement."
After 20 years of planning, Hearst Ranch Resorts is perhaps the most
thoroughly examined coastal property in
the State of California with more than 40 comprehensive studies from environmental impact to water service, and
economic impact to visitor service needs. All these studies have been performed by the most qualified
consultants available, submitted on time to appropriate governmental authorities, and approved.
The plan itself was approved 17 years ago by the County of San Luis
Obispo, and 14 years ago by the California
Coastal Commission as meeting all criteria of the California Coastal Act.
The plans were further modified in June by the San Luis Obispo Board
of Supervisors with a series of
Ruth Brackett, Board of Supervisors chair, sums up the project this
way: "As it wound its way through years of
review before our Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, it has been amended and redrafted in many
ways, If there is a truth to the axiom that the best compromise has something for everyone ... the plan as
approved by our Board earlier this year may very well be a perfect compromise."
The limited amendments clarify the detailed procedures and conditions
for obtaining permits for every phase of
the plan prior to construction.
Because the plan was approved by the Coastal Commission 14 years ago,
the agenda before the Commission in
January concerns only a series of amendments supported by the county and Hearst.
For more than 130 years, Hearst has refused to subdivide or permit housing
developments on the land. With the
exception of the 350 acres for visitor- serving accommodations and the golf course, the remainder of the ranch will
continue to be devoted to agriculture and ranching.