Paso Robles city council moving forward on Gateway Project

October 1, 2013

paso 011The Paso Robles City Council is moving forward on a proposal to annex 270 acres south of the city dubbed the Gateway Project.

The proposal includes plans to develop three hotels, 62,300 feet of retail space and office space, up to 35 single family homes, vineyards and open space.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council will vote on which companies to award an environmental impact report and a water assessment report, which must be finished prior to annexation. The developer, Michael Furlotti, will be responsible to cover the $252,644 cost of the reports.

Several city officials have touted the benefits of annexing the property because of the additional tax revenue the hotels would generate.

In August, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors adopted an urgency ordinance that prohibits new development and the planting of crops in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin area unless proposed projects save as much water as they use.

However, in this case, it is unclear if the property lies over the Paso Robles groundwater basin or the Atascadero sub-basin. Maps of the Paso Robles groundwater basin are inconstant which some showing the property straddling the two basins. The county would need to approve the proposed annexation.

The water report “will serve to evaluate whether the total projected water supplies available to the city during normal, single dry and multiple dry water years during a 20-year projection are sufficient to meet the projected water demand associated with the proposed project,” the city staff report says.


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No $urprise here. Looks like this one will get the fast track royal treatment from the Paso Council and Staff.

Paso continues to roll towards its “Darn near Oxnard”

destiny. Take three new hotels because they’ll bring tax money. Bring 2,000 more homes for the same reason. Then, one day, wake up and realize the charm that brought tourists here… is gone. Crime, traffic, nobody knows their neighbor- that’s why they left big citites to come here. Jim App, first fix the potholes before looking to pad your salary and pension! This town needs to retain its charm, or it flames out, and becomes Salinas, or Fresno, or Camarillo, you get it.

Wow is this Oxnard argument the only one people have. I heard the same argument for the Dalido project in SLO. Is this the new scare word? Comparing Paso to Oxnard? Apples and Oranges. Yes there seems to be more crime than 25 years ago. Oh yea that’s right there is also twice as many people. I bet it is still the same per capita. We see what seems like more, as we have the internet. But I remember many a drug problem here in the eighties. We had a driveby gang shooting over on Vine St. There was murders then.

How about we enforce laws? Crime will still happen even if we stop building tomorrow. Again fear to make a point.

Here’s one of the major problems. Mr. Furlotti wants to plant 100 acres of grapes as “decorative landscaping” (just as the city allowed the Ayres Hotel on Buenavista to do). But apparently Mr. Furlotti wants to drill a well (within the city limits) and either in the Paso city water area or the Atascadero water sub basin.

Already the people behind Target have complained that their wells are down because of the vineyard plantings there. More wells would endanger Templeton wells in the area west of 101 and south of Target, and possibly adversely affect the Atascadero sub basin.

The city of Paso has to be stopped. They haven’t even rolled out their plans for the Olsen housing development, the Chandler housing development, and River Oaks II. It’s a race to the finish for them–get the water before anyone else gets it.

I am truly ashamed of the city’s actions. How could they not help out their fellow North County residents in conserving water in this crisis?

Something is very wrong in Paso Robles.

I must have missed it. Where did it say he wants to drill a well in the article??

O.k. people you hit the down arrow but again, WHERE in the article does it say he wants to drill a well like the poster Citizen claims? This is supposition on the posters part.

It doesn’t, but if this project is going to be in the city and on city water (Nacimiento and city wells), then why does it make a difference if the land is over the Paso basin or the Atascadero sub basin?

Besides, the Ayres Hotel wanted to use well water for their grapes (set up or join a water district). I don’t know how that was eventually handled, but they did not drill their own well.

If you know more about this project, particularly if you know they do not intend to drill, and that the city will not have to drill a new well to accommodate them, then I’d appreciate that information.

Thanks for the response Citizen. I agree that over the Paso or Atascadero what is the difference, if served by the other, i.e. Paso.

I am not saying we just give them carte blanche to do what they wish but I don’t see any problem with letting them explore annexation and move to the next step. Like I said before they still have hurdles after that.

The property at that corner has always been in discussion of one day being developed, as long as I have lived here since ’80. At one point about 12-15 years ago a water park was discussed for that same area, till a lady by the last name of Nash (who was always on KPRL objecting to) who lived over a mile away objected to that project and any development of that corner. Funny thing is she had a small vineyard.

I am getting the feeling that some of this project is not wanted because it is development and people are hiding behind the guise of water as an excuse to deny.

The project is suspect because it is huge–three hotels. Are these spec hotels? Usually, a chain will have their own real estate people who seek out new locations, and hotels are built to their style and are carefully vetted to see if they will succeed. Do you know if Furlotti intends to run these hotels or just build and sell them? He has no past developments to look at–no history of developing projects that I can find.

So if they are spec hotels what is the problem? It is his money and his risk. When did so many people in this country start getting offend by capitalism? Where do people think money comes from for capital improvement projects around a city? Yep be a bedroom community only. We’ve seen how well that works.

This is why we care, BeenThereDonethat:

We don’t know how much city money will be funneled to this project. At the City Council meeting last night, Larry Werner (spokesperson for this project) told us that the city would pay for the bridge over an arroyo in realigning Vine Street–ca. 1 million dollars.

At the previous City Council meeting, Larry Werner (spokesperson for the Chandler Ranch project) asked the city to forgive a loan of ca. 1.5 million dollars for that project.

The city is extending money to projects–our tax money–while they have ignored city street repair and while they could be using city money to help pay for the waste water plant (taxpayers will pay through rate increases).

Who in the city has been working with Mr. Furlotti from San Francisco? What are the deals extended to the Furlotti family?

This project doesn’t make sense so far– you’d think Paso is working with the Sopranos from TV. Does money laundering come to mind?

Yes, we need to know more about this project. Will this entire project be sold once it is built. We need to know the chances of success for three hotels at a location where four hotels already exist because deal makers in the city are using our taxpayer money to sweeten the deal. What are the vacancy rates for hotels and office buildings in town? Will the City Council waive the development fees like the one million dollars waived for the housing developers in the last 2 years? Will this project really help the city or is it development for development’s sake?

The realignment has been planned for years. The highway 46/101 has been a major problem. It was the city working with Caltrans that decided to move Vine/Theater drive back away from the 101. They did the first phase and the second was discussed to be done later as money becomes available, so your implication that Mr. Furlotti is getting special treatment on that front in moot.

Your need to know about the project. That is what is being done right now. A person doesn’t sit around a table and discuss. They submit a plan to the city and or county and go from there. You just said a spokesman was at the meeting last night. That is how they get the ball rolling. This isn’t new. This has ALWAYS been done this way.

City giving incentives? Yes and that isn’t new either. They gave Wal-Mart a discount on paying towards the Niblick expansion from two to four lanes before Wal-Mart was built. They figured they would get back in time. They have. It is just like investing money for paying interest over time. Many a city does this. Again nothing new to see here.

I do not know this man whatsoever. But I feel that if people are following a process that is standard, WHY are we beating up on this gentleman like all of a sudden he is some kind of crook????

“The city of Paso has to be stopped.” AGREED, Citizen. Chandler Ranch plans may not have been developed but Beechwood Area plans are in the works and the public needs to wake up ASAP before they allow 1,011 residences PLUS “a small amount of commercial or mixed-use” development along Creston Rd.

On Oct 8 at 7:30pm, Paso’s planning commission will hold a workshop re. the proposed Beechwood mega-subdivision. Concerned residents need to contact Ed Gallagher or Susan DeCarli:

Let the city know that we don’t have the water for Beechwood’s proposed 1,000+ new homes, plus Furlotti’s proposed three new hotels, new vineyards, etc. It most certainly IS a “race to the finish” for them and they’re determined to build, build, build before the county/state imposes a moratorium on water usage ~inside~ the city limits.

See for the Beechwood plans. I’m sure they have more info re. the Gateway Project, as well.

Your last sentence of the third paragraph sums up my argument. O.k. impose a moratorium within the city limits. WE’VE HAD ONE FOR FIVE SUMMERS!!! Has it made a difference????

Here is something you all are missing. The problems we have had with the Paso Groundwater basin, has not been from within the city of Paso but from outlying areas. Paso has not been an issue, as they charge for usage and have water restrictions in the summer. This project has better odds of water being managed being in the city, than another vineyard being planted outside of city limits in the county.

The question is…will it be managed, or mismanaged like so many other issues have “within the city?”

I don’t know if it will or won’t be mismanaged. But do we do like we have today in Washington? Do we get to the point of total gridlock, because everybody doesn’t want to move forward because of fear?

We are paralyzing ourselves and Gov. anymore with fear. I don’t like things going on but we HAVE to find a way to resolve these issues.

We need to have all water parties, get to the table, discuss this, manage this and move forward.

I have heard this type of water argument in this state my entire 49 years. It goes on and on. We live in mostly desert in this state. The Genie is WAY past out of the bottle. We need to find a way to manage what we have but also REALISTICALLY look at the fact that we will continue to need outside water sources, like it or not. Either that or we all pack up and leave to solve the problem.

Wrong. The GW basin area below the City of Paso Robles has the lowest levels of GW. That means GW from other areas of the basin are being sucked into the area where there is the GW depression below the city.

The County has to step in and stop this development. Otherwise, there is really no reason for the “emergency” measures for the Paso GW Basin to go forward.

The GW basin is already compromised. Allowing for even more overdraft of the GW basin, which is what this residential development would bring, simply brings the Paso GW basin closer to failure.

So let me make sure I understand you correctly. You are saying that because it is lower under the city of Paso, that we the citizens of Paso are using more than the wineries?

I love it. Down arrows for asking a question. Again can someone please answer the question? Or is it a case of you really don’t know?

Unfortunately, we all share in the problem. The city does pump a tremendous amount of water to serve all the residences and businesses. Granted, the vineyards use more, but we all use some. No one in the basis should be increasing water usage at this point, regardless of who uses the most. Paso Robles does NOT need 3 new hotels and 1,000 new homes. There isn’t enough water now or in the future.

Full-steam ahead!! Only in a region ran by clueless politicians would such a thing be considered – given this counties water problem.

;Money ($$$) drives everything. I, too, am slightly concerned about the developer ‘agreeing’ to pay $250K for reports, unless he knows his project will be approved.

Does it make any difference to the developer is this property is in the city or in the county?

His hotels will still have customers. his office space will still get rented, his homes will still be sold – so why does he care if PR annexes or not? And this light comes on – It is to Paso Robles benefit to annex, not the developer. Which simply means the project will be approved – done deal.

But back to the water issue – what will be done?

1. Pray for rain, lots of rain. Who would like to make a wager on how soon all water issues or restrictions will be forgotten about if this area gets 10-12″ of rain this winter?

My inside sources tell me that Mr. App is considering holding rain dances in the park each Saturday, starting in early November. Cost to city unknown.

2. If this does not show success, they may be considering having the Warbirds museum

planes ‘seed’ any cloud with silver iodide. Cost to city not known.

3. Propose another tax on citizens to pay for a de-sal plant.

Regarding “clueless politicians”

They were elected by the fine citizens of Paso Robles. I watched the candidate’s forum. Steve Martin was the only one who seemed to know anything even though he doesn’t represent my political leaning. Those candidates running for re election obviously deferred to the city manager’s recommendations because they were glaringly uninformed.

Water; what is this “need” for water everyone is talking about? Surely all the water ever needed will simply fall from the sky … /snark

Do people really forget that quickly, that completely that the whole of the dire water conditions in the general Paso area that a project like this can move forward? Does the developer have an extra $250k laying around that he thinks he can simply throw the money at it and everything is magically going to be okay? That is some serious disconnect with reality …

The reality is that Cities and Special Districts exempted themselves from the “Emergency Ordinance”. This controls the people who farm and live in the rurual parts of this Local Gov ordained water basin.

Remember that the delivery of water is big bucks for Gov and they will take it from you, especially if you don’t need them. Gov can’t have simple and affordable setting a bad example.

Bob I’d like to give you some credit that hopefully you don’t think this is recent??

I doubt that Mr. Furlotti woke up in the last month or two and said let’s get this done. I bet this has probably been in the works for awhile. I’m sure he had to figure out the in’s and out’s of what to put there, figure out how to go forward in the process and also figure out what fees to move this forward and how he might pay for it.

Your comment about throwing the money at it? Bob that is not how it works. He can spend all that money and they can say no and he doesn’t get his money back. If you are implying that he is buying off, you are WAY off base.

Also even if this is annexed it doesn’t mean it will all start tomorrow. First just the environmental review to get annexed is going to take time. Then once annexed he would have to submitted plans to the planning commission. Then on to the city council. Either one of these can still hold it up at that point, if the water issue hasn’t been resolved.

I say that with this process that can still be years to go, let him go through the preliminaries and deal with it (planning commission and council) down the road. By then we may have management plan in place anyways.

I can tell we have got all the Nimby’s from L.A. now in Paso.

Seems like a very bad idea considering the current water situation county-wide…of course it is Paso, so no surprises here. I’m sure the city manager will find a “way” to make this work.