10 comments


  • Richard Bryant

    Here is the supporting information from the Santa Maria Times about the staircase. The original public hearing was to be Feb 28, but according to the article it may have been in the March 10 hearing.

    The Stairs to Nowhere could lead somewhere

    Pismo Stairs

    Daniel Dreifuss, Staff

    A view of the famous “stairs to nowhere” below Ventana Grill along hotel row in Pismo Beach. A permit to rebuild the stairs is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on Tuesday, Feb. 24, but will likely be postponed, city officials said.

    February 23, 2015 12:00 am • April Charlton

    A staircase to nowhere could once again provide individuals access to the sand it sits on below a popular blufftop restaurant in Pismo Beach.

    Noreen Martin, owner of Martin Resorts, has applied for a coastal development permit to repair and reconstruct an existing spiral staircase located on the beach below Ventana Grill, which she also owns.

    The Planning Commission was expected to hold a public hearing on the permit request Tuesday, but the item will likely be postponed until March 10, according to planning staff.

    At one time, the long-ago abandoned structure was connected to land by a bridge that has since deteriorated, leaving the unusable stairway to decay in the ocean air.

    It can only be accessed by kayaking or swimming to the raised beach where the staircase makes its home.

    Martin Resorts would like to restore the staircase — as well as an existing seawall — for public access and other uses, as the structure used to be a popular spot for taking wedding, graduation and family photos, according to Martin.

    Plans propose removal of the outer spiral staircase from the existing core, construction of new spiral staircase around the core and construction of a pedestrian bridge from Ventana Grill to the stairs.

    The proposal also includes the rehabilitation of an existing perimeter beach wall, restoration of an existing beach access stairway structure and construction of a new retaining wall above the beach access stairway at the restaurant.

    Rehabilitation of the sea wall would include removing the existing parapet that sits atop the beach wall, as well as repairing a portion of the existing perimeter wall.

    Additionally, plans call for construction of a new parapet wall and placement of new beach sand in the area behind the existing perimeter beach wall, according to a staff report.

    The winding staircase was dedicated to Pismo Beach in 1981 and again in 1985, when it was accepted by the city.

    There is also another article from Central Coast News and Events. http://wp.centralcoastpage.com/2015/02/27/pismo-beachs-stairs-to-nowhere-could-lead-somewhere-times-press-recorder/

    March 17, 2015
    • Thanks so much again for the update and supporting newspaper article, Richard. I contacted you today regarding this, but wanted to say thanks again. Don’t get the Santa Maria news since I live in the SLO North County.

      As I said, I will be returning soon to photograph the staircase before the renovation, hopefully by this weekend. And I hope your comments will clarify things for residents and non-residents alike. There seems to be a lot of interest in this staircase. Will keep things updated.

      March 17, 2015
  • Janice Connelly

    I grew up on the Central Coast and live near this spot. So sad to see the stairwell torn down. Your photo is beautiful. Do you have any prints for sale?

    January 07, 2015
  • Ronald

    Hi Renee: I visited the grill and also saw the beautiful sight of the ocean and this stairwell. I love ocean views and the obscurity of the staircase. Is this picture available for sale as a print? I would like to have it framed and displayed in my house.

    November 11, 2014
  • Steven

    Hi Renee,
    I was wondering if you knew whether this picture was taken from the cliffs or from the actual beach that you have to kayak to.

    August 25, 2014
    • Hello Steven: I took this photo from above the abandoned staircase – up on the cliff – behind the Ventana Grill. I was not down on the beach, nor did I kayak to the staircase.

      You can see it by walking around the right rear side of the restaurant.

      August 25, 2014
  • Aazhie

    Thanks for sharing your fantastic work, I’ll have to visit this someday! How fortunate for all who love abandoned things that it is difficult to access, or it surely would not have remained. This is the best image I have seen of the stairwell, the colors here are amazing…

    August 04, 2014
    • Hi Aazhie: Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments about the abandoned staircase in Shell Beach. I was fortunate that there was a stunning sunset the evening I took the photograph. It is too bad that there is no longer access to the beach from cliff steps or this abandoned stairwell. Kayak accessible only. Thanks again. Glad you enjoyed the image.

      August 04, 2014
  • Isaiah Senoran

    Hello, I have a question can you go down there and get onto the staircase? I am going to do a photoshoot there and I need to know. Or is there just anyway to get down there from the restaurant?? Thanks!!

    June 17, 2014
    • Hello Isaiah. The only way to get to the old stairwell is by kayak. There is no stairway down to the beach and the cliffs are steep and unstable. I would advise against climbing on the structure as it is in very poor condition and dangerous. The walkway that connected it to the former hotel has long been gone. The only place to photograph it is from the Ventana Grill.

      June 17, 2014

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