SLO council approves high-density housing in flight path
December 10, 2014
The San Luis Obispo City Council approved a plan to overrule a county commission and allow for construction of high-density housing near the regional airport.
On Tuesday night, the council voted 4-1 to override the airport land use commission, which set limits restricting the plans of developers, like Gary Grossman, who seek to build high-density housing on the city’s southern edge. The airport commission, as well as the aeronautics division of Caltrans, have threatened to sue the city over allowing such development.
The council vote, in which Councilman Dan Carpenter dissented, came the day after a fatal plane crash in Maryland. The plane slammed into a Maryland house built in a flight path and killed a mother and two children who were inside.
Recently, Mayor Jan Marx and council members John Ashbaugh and Carlyn Christianson tried multiple times to override the airport commission and provide the initial approval for high-density housing in the area. However, until Tuesday, they did not muster a fourth vote, which was needed to overrule the commission.
Newly elected Councilman Dan Rivoire cast the deciding vote. Rivoire joined the council last week.
Shortly before the election, Grossman donated $5,000 to the county bicycle coalition, for which Rivoire serves as the executive director.
Grossman also gave maximum allowable contributions to the campaigns of Marx and Christianson during the November election.
He is currently trying to develop the 131-acre property owned by rancher Ernie Dalidio. Sources have told CalCoastNews that Grossman has already spent approximately $6 million in down payments on the Dalidio Ranch, and that his project is financially more viable if high-density development is allowed.
In addition to possible legal challenges, the development plans could face opposition from voters. San Luis Obiso activist Kevin Rice noticed the council last month that he planned to mount a challenge via a referendum if the council overruled the airport commission.