Grossman gets initial council support for Dalidio ranch development
April 2, 2014
After San Luis Obispo rancher Ernie Dalidio fought a multi-decade battle to develop his property and lost, developer Gary Grossman, by most indications, will gain relatively speedy approval for a residential and commercial project he has proposed at the location.
On Tuesday night, the San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously to instruct staff to begin working on development agreements with Grossman, who now owns the former Dalidio ranch located between Highway 101 and Madonna Road. Grossman plans to build 46 acres of housing, a hotel and convention center and commercial office space on the San Luis Obispo Ranch.
The property is located in county jurisdiction, but the council indicated initial support for annexing it into the city.
“This project belongs in the city,” Councilman John Ashbaugh said.
But, Ashbaugh and Mayor Jan Marx, especially, expect Grossman to return with a plan that includes more agricultural and open space than currently proposed. Grossman’s current plan calls for leaving 56.5 acres of the 131.3-acre property as agricultural and open space.
Previously, Marx voted to restrict Dalidio’s development of the property after she helped run a secretive electoral campaign also aimed at limiting the San Luis Obispo rancher’s use of his property. In 2010, the California Fair Political Practices Commission fined potential business competitors of Dalidio, Tom and Jim Copeland, $80,000 for campaign law violations they committed while trying to sabotage the development.
On Tuesday night, Marx said she did not want to rehash the controversy.
“We do not need to go back to the bad old days,” Marx said.
Unlike Dalidio, Grossman has considerable political clout. Grossman has already donated more than $14,000 to the 2014 election campaign of recently appointed County Supervisor Caren Ray.
He has also donated recently to Supervisor Adam Hill. Ray, Hill and Chairman Bruce Gibson, each Democrats, form the current board of supervisors majority. They are aligned politically with the Democratic city council majority of Marx, Ashbaugh and Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson, who formerly served as Hill’s planning commissioner.
Councilman Dan Carpenter, who tends to vote against the council majority, indicated the most support among council members for Grossman’s project.
“It’s an investment,” Carpenter said. “He has the vested right to have a return on his investment.”