SLO council passes plan to rezone manufacturing area
September 18, 2013
A plan to redesign a neighborhood of southern San Luis Obispo that has divided the city council for months passed Tuesday night by a 3-2 vote.
The South Broad Street Area Plan, which first appeared before the council in March, will transform a neighborhood bordering Broad Street between South Street and Orcutt Road from a primarily manufacturing zone to a hub for mixed-use development. Zoning changes that will occur int the area will restrict existing businesses from expanding, while encouraging the creation of something planners have described as the Third Street Promenade of San Luis Obispo on Victoria Avenue.
Since March, Mayor Jan Marx and Councilman John Asbaugh have supported the plan, while Councilman Dan Carpenter and Councilwoman Kathy Smith have opposed much of the plan, particularly its proposed zoning changes to the manufacturing businesses.
With a vacancy on the council, the planned stalled in March when the four council members failed to break a 2-2 deadlock. Carpenter and Smith suggested that the council approve the component of the plan that would make traffic and safety improvements to Broad Street, but Marx and Ashbaugh refused to pass the plan without the zoning changes included.
At the time, Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson was campaigning to replace Andrew Carter on the council and was also sitting on the city’s Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) task force. At the request of voters in the South Broad Street area, Christianson attempted to get the task force to take on the plan, bypassing the council.
Carpenter, who endorsed Christianson’s opponent and criticized the local Democratic Party for backing her in the council race, asked that she step down from LUCE task force.
The council remained deadlocked on the plan until Christianson won the special election in June, creating a majority supporting it. Carpenter and Smith cast the dissenting votes when the South Broad Street Plan returned to the council Tuesday evening.
Carpenter said the plan was a taking of property and would gradually force businesses out of the area.
Christianson said the zoning change would allow property owners to benefit more from their land.
A majority of those who spoke during public comment opposed the plan.
Prior to passage, the council removed from the plan a neighborhood bordering Orcutt Road with businesses on McMillan Avenue and Duncan Lane.
The South Broad Street Area Plan now heads to the LUCE task force for inclusion in an update to the city’s general plan.