SLO council opts not to slow construction of Cal Poly dorm
June 11, 2014
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Numerous San Luis Obispo residents stormed out of city hall dissatisfied Tuesday evening after a gridlocked city council opted not to make a last ditch effort to stunt the construction of a Cal Poly dormitory bordering a residential neighborhood.
The CSU Board of Trustees has already approved the construction of a 1,500-student dormitory next to the Grand Avenue entrance to Cal Poly. Dozens of city residents have protested the plan, saying it will create too much traffic, noise and partying in the bordering neighborhood.
On Tuesday, residents pleaded with the city council during public comment to pressure Cal Poly to pay for traffic improvements and an increased police presence in the area. Some speakers called for the city to pursue litigation against the university.
The city has a June 20 deadline to file a pleading initiating civil action against Cal Poly, City Attorney Christine Dietrick said.
Council members Kathy Smith and Dan Carpenter proposed meeting in closed session this week to consider litigation against the university. But, council members John Ashbaugh and Carlyn Christianson voted down a motion to discuss a possible lawsuit against Cal Poly.
“I just think it’s a gross misdirection of resources, time and energy on the part of our city,” Christianson said. “I don’t think it represents what’s best for the community as a whole.”
As she has done in the past, Mayor Jan Marx recused herself from the discussion because she lives in the neighborhood bordering the dormitory location. Marx said both Dietrick and the California Fair Political Practices Commission have advised her to recuse herself on the matter.
Christianson and Ashbaugh said they supported holding an open session meeting to discuss planning measures relative to the dorm project. But, the four-member council remained split on the matter and ultimately agreed not to take any action.
Cal Poly plans to begin construction of the dorm next year and complete the project by 2018.