SLO council approves high-density housing in flight path

December 10, 2014
Jan Marx

Jan Marx

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.

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It sure sounds a lot worse to write “Grossman also gave maximum allowable contributions to the campaigns of Marx and Christianson during the November election” than to write “Grossman also gave $300 contributions to the campaigns of Marx and Christianson during the November election.”

Yep. I don’t like Marx and Christianson either but this is an example of inflammatory biased reporting that only serves to dilute the credibility of CCN.

What’s your problem with the truth? They were maximum contributions — made larger by Marx and company raising the maximum just before the election! So they could collect bigger contributions. Most people don’t have $300 to throw at this sort of stuff, only the fat cats with things to gain. They actually gave maximums to Rivoire as well. Go look it up at

My problem is with yellow journalism – exaggerations, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.

Good thing the Coroner’s Office is next to the airport and has an air disaster kit handy…they may need it sooner than later now…

Why would ANYONE choose to listen to the airport commission regarding airports and airport safety? Because they MAY know what they are talking about? What is wrong with these people?

Has anyone asked the mayor or the council if any of them would be willing to live in the newly approved area? What about their kids, parents siblings, or loved ones….any problem with that?

It is possible that they are being overly cautious so that they don’t have to deal with even unjustified complaints or lawsuits at a later date.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

…but wait, there’s more to stir your outrage, indignation, food for thought. This breaking story ought to REALLY INFLAME YOUR RIGHTEOUS, hair-on fire, chest-pounding, torch-march inducing letter-writing indignity – not that I can’t blame you (wink-wink, nudge-nudge!):

You think that is bad, wait until you see this about democRATS and liberals —

But according to public records, the Kennedys have almost completely avoided contributing to “social justice” by placing their assets in trusts that are located overseas. The Kennedys,

over the past thirty years, have paid less than 1% in inheritance taxes on more than $300 million. Ted Kennedy, like Hillary Clinton and George Soros, loves higher taxes. On other people.

Save the irrelevant comments for a thread more closely related to the subject. And consider the possibility that Republicans and Conservatives do the same thing in at least equal proportions.

Partisan threadjacking is not appreciated here. Save it for a more appropriate subject.

A lot of our hometown developers use the Caymans for their banking.

OK, we all know about the donations made to elected officials, and how poorly many thinks of Marx and Ashbaugh. They made their vote, so oh well. May we talk land use, productive use.

To take the conservative or capitalist view for a moment, it could be said that we shouldn’t BAN productive land use on the slim chance that a poorly-piloted plane will splash out a couple of homes, people, stores or businesses.

Statistically speaking, crashes on approach and departure corridors are thankfully very rare. Wings don’t break off aircraft, it’s inattentive pilots who mostly cause these. And rarely so. A risk assessment by society needs to be made, and my take is that with all the risks in life, buying or renting or childbearing under a close-in flight path is an acceptable, known, exceedingly minor risk and therefore it is OK to build density under flight paths.

Okay, statistically speaking it is rare that crashes occur in the approach and departure corridors, however, the odds are that if something bad is going to happen, it is more likely to occur on takeoff or landing, and when it does it is catastrophic. With high density a greater number of lives are potentially subjected to a disaster. If the people making these decisions valued the well being of their constituents over padding their coffers it wouldn’t be an issue.Speaking of land use, what about the drought situation, how does anyone justify the water use that will occur with high density housing? It seems irresponsible to me from a moral and environmental perspective.

You never cease to live up to your name, LC: upon what information do you base your claim that “it’s inattentive pilots who mostly cause these”? You quite obviously do not know WHAT you are talking about. Inattentive? You must be thinking of car (SUV) drivers; getting a pilot’s license requires a modicum of intelligence… (Of which you seem to be lacking…)

Almost on cue, plane crashed in to a house near an airport killing a family.

I didn’t catch whole news story, but very ironic that it happened at almost the same time this was approved.

I think that I might agree with LC here. It seems to me that the odds of a plane crash decrease with the distance from the end of a runway. The Dalidio property development has to be about 2 miles past the end of the SLO Airport runways and that should make the odds reasonable. It would not be unreasonable to require all purchasers of any property within a proposed development there to sign a document accepting the risks and noise (including future increases) as part of the sale agreement.

Development in the flight path east of S. Higuera would be a different matter and restricting it to industrial/commercial with similar documentation would be more appropriate.

I do not like the process wherein the City Council’s votes are apparently for sale on such issues but that is not much of a change from the past and is typical when either party controls a majority of the votes and is likely to remain in control in the foreseeable future. In fact, I wonder how many of the opponents here disregard the arguments in favor of development because of that process and because of the political leanings of the politicians in favor.

Your argument is lame. If you knew the facts, you’d know there have been TWO crashes on the Dalidio property in recent years. That seems like pretty high odds one might actually be concerned about, if one had a normal thought process and cared about facts.

Airport Built out of Town

Public promised Notice of Proximity to Airport Waiver

Residential begins to encroach

Residential overturns Airport Waiver

Residential dictates new rules for airport

Airport gets screwed.

History repeats itself over and over and over and over

They will develop it all and then 10, 15, 20 years from now slo airport will be shut down because people will be complaining about the noise just like Santa Monica airport. There are reasons why the airport commission sets the standards they do. (Noise, safety)

Have you ever been to the Santa Monica airport? Homes are located less than 200 feet from the end of its runway! There is no comparison.

Business as usual. Quid Pro Quo.

Pay to play

QUOTING THE ARTICLE: “Grossman also gave maximum allowable contributions to the campaigns of Marx and Christianson during the November election.”


Looks like it is time for the City of SLO to grow a spine and get rid of their own mayor.

Why stop at the mayor? The whole council needs to go.As a long time resident of SLO it is sad to see that our current mayor and city council can be bought.Money votes for money

that’s how we get those poor excuses for decision makers for the City.

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