February 23, 2024
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SLO land-use battle continues over update to general plan


A referendum election is the latest threat to the San Luis Obispo City Council’s ability to adopt its updated General Plan — a $1.4 million undertaking — in an increasingly drawn-out battle over future development in the city.

Resident Kevin Rice announced recently that he is organizing a committee and seeking contributions to support a referendum election to overturn any future city council vote overruling the Airport Land Use Commission’s charge that the General Plan’s Land Use and Circulation Element doesn’t fit the Airport Land Use Plan.

The council failed to produce the votes needed on Oct. 21 to override the ALUC, an autonomous agency that drafts safety plans for the airport, due to a dispute between council members Dan Carpenter and John Ashbaugh.

Major Jan Marx continued the discussion of an override to Dec. 2, which coincides with newly elected council member Dan Riviore taking his seat. Both Marx and pro-development advocates are hopeful that new blood on the council will provide the support needed for an override and adoption of the General Plan. Without adoption, the future of proposed developments, including the 131-acre San Luis Ranch planned for the Dalidio property on Madonna

Road and the 150-acre Avila Ranch near the airport on the north side of Buckley Road, remain uncertain.

Proponents of the referendum would have 30 days to qualify if the council approves an override action on Dec. 2. Many in the development community in SLO are concerned that if an override occurs and is appealed, it would invalidate portions of the LUCE, tossing out years of technical analysis and community input and jeopardizing infrastructure and development in long identified areas of the city. The referendum petition would require no less than

Ten percent of the city’s nearly 25,000 registered voters and could be proposed to city voters as early as January 2015.

UCSB set for growth

On Nov. 13, UC Santa Barbara won approval for the 2010 revision of its Long Range Development Plan from the California Coastal Commission, which makes way for big additions to the university’s campus.

The university has outlined building accommodations for up to 5,000 new undergraduate students and several hundred faculty and staff. The work would extend to 2025.

With sign-off from the city of Goleta and environmental groups concerned about the impacts of growth mostly satisfied, university officials can finally send six years’ worth of work into action. Several housing developments are already in various phases of construction or approvals.

The Sierra Madre student apartment complex, currently under construction on Storke Road, will be ready for occupancy in fall 2015.  The San Joaquin Villages project adjacent to the existing Santa Catalina complex is slated for completion in the fall of 2016, and a third complex, called Mesa Verde, is in the planning stages.

“Housing is a key component of the 2010 Long Range Development Plan,” Marc Fisher, UCSB’s vice chancellor for administrative services said in a release. The San Joaquin Villages development is our first student housing project designed to meet this commitment.”

SOM, Kieran Timberlake Architects, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects and Kevin Daly Architects all collaborated on the San Joaquin project.

“This important undertaking sets the standard for future housing with beautifully designed, affordable, sustainable architecture and site sensitive planning matching in quality the academic standards of our campus,” Fisher said.

The student housing projects along with approved plans for faculty and staff housing are expected to help ease the pressure on housing density in Isla Vista. According to the university, the additional housing will also bolster UCSB’s capacity for summer camps and conferences.

“This extra capacity will allow us to use our facilities when they’re not occupied by UCSB students and still generate revenue — income that offsets the expense of housing for students who are in there during the school year,” said Chuck Haines, the director of capital development at UCSB, in a release.

Deal of the week

A 24-unit apartment building in Lompoc recently sold for $2.5 million. The property is located at 617, 621 and 625 North F Street and was built in 1985. The complex was sold to Valley Crest Apartments in a off market deal.

Nick Henry of the Channel Group represented the buyer, Hilley Family Trust & Triple H Investments.