BY KAREN VELIE
The Morro Bay City Council voted 4-1 last week to have the power plant smoke stacks taken down, with Councilman Jeff Heller dissenting.
Mayor John Headding spoke of the high cost of rehabbing the rundown building and stacks, before making a motion to ask Vistra Corporation to take down the stacks. Heading also voiced concerns regarding liability and the cost of upkeep.
Before voting against Headding’s motion, Heller argued for the stacks to be reused in an attempt to differentiate their city from other coastal towns.
“I see this rather than something that’s old that we need to tear down, but something we need to look at with clear eyes as to whether it is possible to save it, reuse it, and make it a catalyst project and a world wide attraction,” Heller said.
The stacks have been a part of the Morro Bay waterfront since the power plant was built in the 1950s. Vistra, a Texas-based energy company, plans to replace the power plant with a battery energy storage system.
Vistra has until Jan. 1, 2028 to remove the stacks.