San Luis Obispo County

CA Coastal Commission moves to shut down off highway vehicles at Oceano Dunes

CA Costal Commission moves to shut...

OCEANO, Calif. - As the California Coastal Commission considers an end to off-road vehicles at the Oceano Dunes, officials are investigating the fourth death at the Dunes this year.

State Parks Rangers say it happened Saturday. 

The debate over allowing vehicles on the dunes has heated up as the California Coastal Commission steps in, hoping to shut it down or add more restrictions. 

Shutting down off-highway vehicles (OHV) could have major consequences to the local economy. 

But with the fourth death just happening on the dunes this year, its only adds fuel to the fire. 

"I have a son that is going to college, I would lose everything. It's not fair," said Steve's ATV Rentals employee Shannon O'Connell.

The debate has been going on for years. But has heated up significantly as the Commission weighs in.

"Down here during the day, especially during vacation time, it is mainly a sand highway," said Oceano resident Bob Lyga.

A sand highway that might be coming to an end. 

The Commission says it wants to stop recreational off-highway vehicles (OHV) for public health and environmental reasons. 

Lyga does not want to close the beach to OHVs but does hope to see modifications where vehicles are allowed to go on the beach as well as some other restrictions.

"People get hurt out there and it's hard just to get into my own neighborhood," said  Lyga.

People like 37-year-old Shawn Imlig, who died this Saturday after colliding with 34-year-old Oscar Corchado on Off-Highway Vehicles. Corchado was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence and Vehicular Manslaughter.

"As someone that has worked in this community for over 30 years, I can tell you it would have a devastating impact on not just the residents here, but business owners and people that love to come here," said O'Connell.

California State Parks released a 2016 study reporting the Dunes and Pismo Beach State Park earns San Luis Obispo County $243 million a year. 

"There would be no way to try to supplement that kind of revenue for this area, not to mention all the stuff it does pay for around here," said fourth generation Oceano local resident Ryan Doty.

At an upcoming public meeting, the Commission will discuss proposed modifications and environmental restrictions. 

The California Coastal Commission meeting will be held July 11, at 9 a.m. It will take place at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 333 Madonna Road in San Luis Obispo.

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