Caltrans tells SLO to rethink building homes near airport
March 25, 2015
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has warned the city of San Luis Obispo that it should reconsider its plan to allow the construction of high-density housing near the regional airport.
In December, the city council voted 4-1, with Councilman Dan Carpenter dissenting, to override the airport land use commission, which sets limits on development in the city’s southern edge. The council vote cleared a major hurdle for developers such as Gary Grossman, who seeks to build high-density housing in the area.
Last week, an attorney representing the aeronautical division of Caltrans sent a letter to San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx asking the council to reassess its improper decision to overrule the airport commission. Previously, both the airport commission and the Caltrans aeronautics division threatened to sue the city over its plan to allow high-density developments near the airport.
The Caltrans letter states that the city’s plan violates height, noise, safety and density regulations pertaining to development surrounding the airport. The letter notes that the Santa Monica airport could be closed due to complaints from residents about noise, safety and pollution.
In response, City Attorney Christine Dietrick told the Tribune that the Caltrans letter contains numerous inaccuracies and a misrepresentation of the law.
During last year’s election season, Grossman gave maximum allowable contributions to the campaigns of Marx and Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson. The developer also donated $5,000 to the county bicycle coalition, for which Councilman Dan Rivoire serves as the executive director.
Grossman is currently trying to develop the 131-acre property owned by rancher Ernie Dalidio. Sources have told CalCoastNews that he has already spent several million dollars on the proposed development, and that he needs approval for high-density development in order to make the project more financially viable.
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