Arroyo Grande denies Courtland project

December 10, 2014

arroyo grandeArroyo Grande City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to deny a four and a half acre proposed mix of commercial and residential units near the city’s border with Grover Beach.

In Nick Tompkins’ current proposal, he would partner with Andy Mangano who would construct 41 homes on the southern portion of the property located at the corner of Courtland Street and Grand Avenue. During the same time, Tompkins would build a large restaurant with an additional four storefronts totaling 11,000 square feet of commercial.

However, the city’s general plan denotes the entire area as commercial.

Mayor Jim Hill and Council Members Tim Brown and Barbara Harmon voted against diverting property deemed in the city’s general plan as commercial into residential because of the loss of tax dollars. In addition, members of the public spoke out about the possibility the project would lead to increased traffic congestion.

Council Members Jim Guthrie and Kristen Barneich voted to approve the project. Barneich appeared to fight back tears as she described Tompkins’ seven year struggle to develop the property.


Jim “Babe” Hill’s official song. It’ll make a great campaign song for the next election as well.


I’m guessing the FOR SALE sign is going up today.

Nick is snakebit with this property.

Projects the city doesn’t like would probably be welcomed by the community.

Projects the city brings forward are so awful the public rises up against them.

Did anyone else catch Jim Hill say it’s too bad he wasn’t on the council when the city killed those other projects? Jim said he more than likely would have supported one of those.

They say timing is everything, I think Nick is just on the wrong cycle with this one.


I did see a sign today. I had to go to SESLOC and CVC. Wow. That didn’t take long.


It has been listed for sale for awhile now, just not publically with a sign. Not surprised.

I’m most frustrated with our Planning commission, who tip-toed through the process and were more worried about what style lamps would be used than how the trucks were going to get in and out.

I also bet none of them went to SLO to look at the development this keeps getting compared to. It was way too much on a very tight corner too close to a busy intersection. Can you imagine the congestion getting in and out of the commercial strip, wanting to turn left to get to Grand? It would have to have a “right turn only” sign out of the Courtland driveway, and then traffic would either cut through the CVS parking lot or head towards Berry Gardens.

If only these questions were brought up at PC meetings, a marathon 3+ hour meeting would not have had to happen! Thank you Brown, Harmon and HIll for having some sense!


Remember many of these commissioners have spent years working for Ferrara and maybe have lost who they should really be working for, the people, time will tell if they will change or need to go.


Oh, they know who they’re working for, don’t kid yourself.

Tony had this project on the fast track for Nick.

Too bad the election turned it all upside down on them.


Can’t figure out who’d want to live in the apts above the commercial right on the street. Grand Ave isn’t Marsh St, it’s more like a freeway.

How could you ever even open a window with all the traffic noise?

Move the mixed used into the center of the lot,

be smart about the design and something nice can come of it.

Nick and his team are clearly lacking in creativity.


I agree.

This should have never made it out of the PC. The roads were too tight, the elevations were extreme and the lack of sunshine, any soft scape and modern architecture did not complement the neighborhood. Not to mention traffic considerations just at that intersection.

This is what should have occurred if NKT wanted more housing…

Commercial next to Grand and L back along that hideous wall. Place the low income housing as the buffer to the Berry Gardens neighborhood. If they wanted more Single family residences, then they should have planned for more Berry Gardens patio homes adjacent to Berry Garden’s.

The residential as proposed was too ridiculous to comment on.


Some of these issues were brought to the Planning Commission, they were just happy to take the answers that were given to them without doing any research on their own—and yes, they were very excited to see the material boards of the project. Ms. George responded to one of my public comments about the project with a statement about how this project was going to bring much needed revenue and tax dolllars to the city of Arroyo Grande…I am not sure this project would have given the city that much added revenue given the limited amount of commercial space proposed—but hey, what do I know?

I am glad that reason reigned on Tuesday evening and that the decision to move forward with this project was denied.

On an additional positive note, we have more data to add to the voting record of Barneich!


I don’t really see the issue with this development, maybe someone can educate me. They are building residential homes currently, just south of the parcel in question. I get it is zoned commercial but wouldn’t an exception be warranted here. Look at google maps and look at the neighboring residential. Its not like its a perfectly straight line designating residential from commercial. I don’t see how this development is anything out of the ordinary or wouldn’t fit the surrounding area. Plus you get more tax revenue from business and more tax revenue from property taxes.

Would everyone rather see a vacant lot surrounded by businesses earning no tax dollars? Or is it one of those, “Well we might get someone to develop the whole 4 acres in commercial” situations?


moto you get no tax revenue from housing, that goes to the county. The residents of AG need tax revenue and this was always suppose to be commercial. I feel Nick tries to hard to get the chain stores in his locations, it might be time for him to work with smaller businesses.

I don’t think it will be easy, and he no longer has Tony in his back pocket just pushing his project through. He is not keeping folks informed like he said he would and these 3 day meetings, what a joke.

I agree you can’t make everyone happy with this project and traffic will increase in Berry gardens. But when those people moved in there, they knew what the plans called for, or they should have. So some of these new transplants that have lived there for 4 months, sorry you should have gone to the city and learned what was planned for the area.

We need tax revenue and we have two lots left in AG to do that with, it can be done, it just won’t be easy. If Nick would start listening better I think something could have gone in there already.

I for one appreciate the council making the hard decision last night, we need to stick to our guns about the general plan for our town.


Thanks dogeatdog, I did really want to know what the issues were/are with that site. I have no knowledge of Nick’s endeavors so your reply is appreciated.


moto1965, the biggest issue was 41 homes squished into 2/3 of this commercial lot, no sideways, lawns, porches or driveways. Just house to house, shaing the wall of one house as the patio to the next one. Way too many homes, with little additional parking available.

Then the commercial 1/3 section. Buildings front Grand Ave, so parking is in rear. Not nearly enough room for large trucks making deliveries to drive through to unload. They wanted these large trucks parking on GRAND to unload…not! There was more housing above the buildings (thus giving it the “mixed use” designation) which have no parking or garage. They get to park in the retail spaces. Plus, the entrances and exits did not flow well or come out to safe traffic flow.

A bad design that never should have made it to City Council for approval. Anyone want to join the Planning Commission? It appears we need a few good people in there!


Tompkins stood to take in over 16 million on the houses alone, funny how Guthrie and Barneich both claimed it was ridiculous to think Tompkins would not develop the commercial part and risk losing the $250,000 escrow payment, be it in 10 or 3 years. Get real, $250,000 is nothing compared to $16,000,000. He would have walked in a heartbeat.


Did you see how KB had that conversation with NKT for all to hear all planned out? ..” Oh Mr. Tompkins, would you be willing to shorten the length of that deposit so we know you will build the commercial?”

My foot, anyone would take the money and run.

Kevin Rice

dogeatdog, Don’t forget Costello. If either Costello or Tony were still here the project would have passed. And, you’re welcome, by the way.


thanks Kevin.

Still love to look at those mugs you sent to every home.



Thank you for Joe, you’re welcome for Ferrara.

Write-In Jim Hill

AG Mayor

Oh what fun it is to vote, la-la-la-la-la-la-laaaaaaaa!


Damn It was a story of the ages!

And Babs is in and Tim Brown once again stood up for what is right!

No more bullying by Big Tony

I mean it this time too!

Time for the AG Council to do the right thing ALL THE TIME.

Time to learn a lesson here folks.

If you are not willing to buy one of those homes, then probably no once else should or would either.


love it agag1—love it!


I like the open spaces in AG. It is what makes AG different from other jam-packed developed cities.

However, I think there is more chance of business development occurring there now that Ferrara is gone. Ferrara’s only interest that pertained to AG’s businesses were confined to the businesses on Branch St. Otherwise, he did whatever he could to show his disrespect and unwilling ness to work with the non-Branch St businesses.


Proposed project is supposed to be mixed-use. Tompkins came with a walled in fortress residential project with a business plan that’s probably about the size of his house.

Not the right project at all, and no guarantees he’d build the commercial even if approved.

Loved the guy who asked Nick why he hadn’t built the grocery store in the village yet.

City and citizens ALL want that.

Must not be a money maker, or can’t find a taker,

so much for that promise to get right on it!


Ms. Barniech reminds me of Sarah Palin always bringing her family into the conversation. Much like Sarah, she talks too much about too little.


Maybe it would do her good to join a church (after admitting she does not attend any)


But wait, she’s spiritual—what does THAT mean??????


Kristen was a mess, she was taking deep breathes, swallowing hard and could only face Jim Guthrie as the mayor spoke. The tear was a nice dramatic move by the princess, who then went on to pout.

I think the high light was when they asked for a vote to extend the meeting past 11 pm. Kristen sat up there pouting and said nothing and the mayor tried to call the vote. Kristen hollered,”I did not vote, I did not say a word” and she had more than enough time to vote. She then said in a pout y, mad voice, “well how long will we be here, 11:30 -12:00 I have kids at home”

Guess what Kristen some meetings will be long, mostly when it is decided to only have one a month. I don’t understand why they voted not to have one on Dec 23rd. Yes it is close to Christmas, but it is not a holiday so city business should go on.

I have never seen such a drama queen on a council before.

I was happy to see that the council is sticking with the general plan and not taking it lightly. Although Jim Guthrie does not think amending the general plan is such a big deal.


go home to your kids KFB, please dont come back. it would be nice to have someone in your seat with some distinction in life, let alone a brain.


I dunno.

There seemed to be some other great highlights.

The three or four cell phones going off ( one ringing tot he tone of a long F-L-U-S-H!)

Or how about when the Clerk took roll call and accidentally called Hill, “Ferrara”.


The toilet ring was hilarious, timing was impeccable!

Poor Clerk, she was embarrassed, easy to see how that could happen after all these years. Jim was a good sport!


Council member Brown showed some true AG spirit last night.

Going back to his roots:the General Plan.

He wants to do the right thing.

We must create opportunities for him to shine.

I do believe Jim Guthrie will join him if he can shred the Ferrara skin off his back.


It makes you wonder.

Why was KB willing to approve such an awful residential project?

There were no sidewalks, driveways, the smallest of common stamp space and even after they enlarged the parking, the $125 a month for HOA fees is to pay for things if it was a normal dedicated city street a homeowner would be provided for free ( streets and lighting)

No one on that Council would have been willing to live there.

KB did not even quibble about water or environmental issues ( like no sun, no green scape and that looming 25 foot wall adjacent to the old Blockbuster) Ouch!

Do not feel sad for Nick Money Bags Tompkins.

This is just a mere hobby for him, playing with our lives and emotions and quality of life!

Should have given them a pool for the low income apartment dwellers to use!


So build commercial as allowed! We could use a Lowes or a Macy’s here.


Big chains need freeway exposure to survive,

neither of those are suitable for the Courtland site.

What AG needs is a grocery store since Tompkins ran the other two out of town.

Two locals for one Smart and Final…gee thanks Nick.

Hope that rent check makes you real happy each month.


After seeing Mr. Tompkins last night it was clear this was something he had seldom had to deal with before, one of his projects going the way he wanted.


dang it, “one of his projects “not” going the way he wanted…….


Ahhh! the winds are changing!

Time for no more favors for buddies

Time to allow equal treatment of employees, citizens and applicants.

Time to respect the police.

No more bullies. We do not have to take it any more from Big Tony.

Who was the first one to call him last night to spill all the closed session news?

Carmel or Barneich?

My vote is on Carmel.


Of course, then he can bill us for it…closed session.

Rich in MB

Elections matter… Looks like the AG city council isn’t bought and paid for like the SLO City council!


Oh boy, do they ever. Can’t wait for new council member to make appointments,

THAT will also help bring change.


Mayor Hill to San Dist and Brown as alternate.

Let’s see what Brown gets to learn about Ferrara now!


I believe in honoring the intentions of our forefathers and I’m so glad they stuck to their guns on this one. Driven to tears Kristen? Boy, I do need to hit a meeting or two.


It was just so…so…(sniff, sniff) saaaaaad to see KB getting so emotional.

Cue the toilet ringtone.

Sure do hope someone got that guys number!


And yet another at bat and…..(((((HOME RUN)))) ((((HOME RUN)))) way to go “Babe”


Hill, Brown and Harmon were spot on last night.

Brown stuck to the General Plan. I had some concerns, but he was a champ last night.

Kudos to all three.


Council member Harmon found the whole thing distasteful

Thank you for not ralphing when they offered up some more parking.

She’s got their number.

Congratulations Barbara. You are refreshing.