Lawson family seeks to demolish, build new barn

09/08/2021

A Dillon Beach family is seeking to permit a new agricultural and solar collector barn, part of a decade-long effort to legalize operations at Lawson’s Landing. The new barn would replace an existing one that will be demolished to make way for a new wastewater system. That system, approved in 2020 by the California Coastal Commission, will enable the Lawsons to build new bathroom facilities for seven employee houses and 350 tent and R.V. campsites today serviced by portable toilets. The system will allow the campground to proceed with a 2011 plan to build up to 20 fully equipped R.V. sites with running water, drainage and electricity. The campground’s coastal development permit required reducing and consolidating campsites, phasing out 170 trailers, implementing a series of conservation projects and developing a new wastewater system. The family proposed plans for the wastewater system several times, facing difficulties related to the fact that much of the 960-acre property qualifies as an environmentally sensitive habitat area. The wastewater system’s design and location are formalized in an amendment to the coastal development permit. The amendment includes plans for a new administrative office that will double as an emergency response center in times of need, a mobile food trailer, additional boat storage and a beach restoration project in an area where a pier was reconstructed. This is the second time the county has reviewed the design of the barn; the first review found the structure to be too close to property lines. “The 21st century is complicated,” said Mike Lawson, president of the campground business. “It can’t be a simple thing. All of it has to be done correctly.”