SLO council opts not to slow construction of Cal Poly dorm

June 11, 2014

calpoly dormBy 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.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Why in the hell should I be forced to pay for a lawsuit against Cal Poly. The dorm is being built on state property and the city’s zoning and building codes do not apply. If the property owners in the area want to sue, they should pay the costs. I’ve got news for them, YOU WILL LOSE.

What difference is it really going to make? There have been dormitories directly across Grand Avenue for decades. If you drive through Grand at night after the PAC lets out, it’s a quiet atmosphere that seems to be heavily patrolled by CP Police.

The loud partying takes place not on state/CP property, but across Slack Street in the City of SLO.

but how many of those properties are owned by family or friends of council members or other friends? could it be they don’t want competition to the landlord business and their ability to charge outrageous rents for shacks that they don’t put any money back into?

NOOOOOOOOO.. the students must live in all-electric dumps owned by SLO’s finest slumlords.

1500 student units, 1500 cars, support services. Wow, the size of a small City. I can understand the concern of the neighborhood.

Maybe not 1500 cars — a lot of students living there won’t have cars. It will still be a major impact on the neighborhood. If I owned a house near there I would seriously be considering converting it into a rental even though being a landlord to students is a risky and troublesome business.

I wonder if the 1500 student total represents an anticipated increase in the students attending Cal Poly or if some of them will be used to house students who currently want but can’t get housing on campus. If it is the latter, it might be shifting impacts from other neighborhoods around the city to this one.

Cal Poly plans to expand by up to 5,000 students, so the 1,500 new dorm rooms doesn’t come close to mitigating that impact.

Poly already has 20K students and 3K employees. Whar’s another 1500?

This was reportedly heard coming from the Mayor’s office on Tuesday….

Watched the video. Mr. R looks acts just like our new Poly neighbors. So wasted he has trouble zipping up his sweater and putting on skate shoes to get ready to thrash.

“Like a good neighbor, CalPoly is there”.