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Hearst Luxury Golf Resort: Take 2


The Hearst Corporation of San Simeon, California is making another go at a luxury resort and golf course development. The media giant proposed a similar project in 1998, but was turned down by the California Coastal Commission. The commission decided the 1998 plan violated the 1976 Coastal Act, a statute designed to protect the area from development. The coastline’s threatened wildlife, limited water supplies and natural landscapes made that project “ill-suited to sustain a resort,” according to the commission. The original plan included two 18-hole championship-style courses and a 900-room resort.

So what makes this proprosal different than the last? Developers are proposing preservation of 83,000 acres of the Hearst family ranch as open space, which would permanently protect the land from development. In exchange, they want to build the resort on 257 prime coastal acres. The project would involve an 18-hole championship-style golf course, a retail complex and two hotels.

According to Sara Wan, commission chairperson, the coastal commission has not yet been officially notified of the Hearst’s plans. Instead, the corporation is first seeking county approval for “certificates of compliance.” Developers are also toying with the idea of selling development rights to the property, including coastal portions of the ranch.