SLO continues to ignore architectural guidelines

January 4, 2017



On Jan. 3, the San Luis Obispo City Council voted 3-2 to deny an appeal of a four-story motel project proposed to be located at 1042 Olive Street. This project is an architectural misfit in height, color and style. There was no attempt to fit into the neighborhood and approval of this project made a mockery of the city’s community design guidelines.

The community development director stated that the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) has tremendous leeway in “interpreting” or ignoring the community design guidelines. If this is true, any developer can justify putting up anything in San Luis Obispo as long as the ARC “likes” the design.

The architect stated later in a private conversation that this “style” of architecture is what the younger generation likes and there should be more buildings like it in SLO. If the ARC, staff and the council share this opinion, then there is seriously no practical need for these “guidelines.”

So the next time the city asks for your input on updates to the downtown concept plan, the Mission Plaza masterplan or revisions to the community design guidelines, remember that, without the city’s intent to enforce these documents, this will be a monumental waste of your time.

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No, the folks who control this council are the two members that were already in place when the new folks were sworn in. THEY are in control. Mayor Harmon is true and faithful to residents and the other two being elected to this council I fear will be swayed on too many anti-resident initiatives. They should just put this picture of the plastic fantastic building (tho made out of steel, glass and aluminim) on the City website, and take an actual poll of address verified residents as to whether they approve of 4 or more story buildings popping up in SLO that look like this. The architect actually at the end of the hearing told everyone he had a conversion moment to sustainability. Too bad he did not actually have the solar panels in the drawing of the project, he just said that is where they will be. However he does have a rooftop deck, which eliminates the viewshed for a great number of others in the area. When did the residents say it was OK to destroy all the views? We moved here for the views, now they are sold to the highest bidder.

Sorry days for SLOTOWN. Very sorry indeed, and most residents do not have a clue what is going down. I have given this link before, but you really should look at it. It is the FUTURE of SLO. Please look and see what is on the horizon.

mr, magoo: “We moved here for the views, now they are sold to the highest bidder.” This is called progress! That is what the locals of been told for years… As a native of SLO (3rd generation) this City was destroyed under the leadership of Jan Marx and Dave Romero and I hate to say it, but their is no turning back. When 70% of the residents are rental/temporary residents that sense of ownership is just not there. The streets are congested, the mom and pops shops have given way to big corporate businesses like every other place in America looking for your dollar. The students dominate with the coffee houses and bars, and the homeless roam the city, creeks, buses and public buildings as the panhandling continues. Yet, a top priority for the City is to “ban water bottles” like in San Francisco, attack the owners of rentals with another tax/fee and for those of us that were born and raised there. I had to move out of the City and into a different local community where there is still “some” sanity. People have gotten what they wanted by continuing to vote for the same people making the same decisions for its citizens. Laws protect the criminals and the innocent at now at risk. Enjoy your limited views or move to a more beautiful community and out of the commercial hub of the County!

Good post, SLOBIRD. You are right on with your description of what seems to have happened to our city. It will be awful when people literally wake up and see what the city has become. Also, for taking the prize for the highest LOSS of views, drive by Marsh Street just before Johnson, and check out the million dollar 4 story condos, with rooftop decks. They have created a canyon-like experience for folks walking through there, and someone stole San Luis Peak.

Anything would be an improvement for that area. Freeway noise, awful and busy entrance and exit onto the 101 which is too close to Broad Street, the “L” curve in the road, slimy buildings and motels around it, etc. Should clean it up a little…

What neighborhood, Allan??? A strip of motels and fast food joints is not a neighborhood!

You don’t like the motel’s color? Would you prefer lavender and purple like the nearby Heritage Inn? Would that make it more compatible? Or, do you just want its design to look like the adjacent Taco Bell? Is that your idea of great architecture?

“…this “style” of architecture is what the younger generation likes…”

I cry foul on this. The young people I work and travel with (+/- 45) don’t give a rats ass about what a hotel looks like on the outside. So long as it has a bar, gym and free breakfast, they are good to “stay”.

Hey Cal poly ARC Dept . If ya Gott em Smokem! where the hell are the good architects…

I am just a designer with 30 years in the field .. poor design..

This looks a lot like the two buildings that went up where Union 76 stations once stood: George Hessler’s on Monterey and Johnson and the one at the California Blvd Hwy 101 offramp at Kentucky. Must be same young Cal Poly architect.

Is this proposed for the vacant lot next to the Taco Bell? Will they be expanding into the vacant Bon Temps restaurant site?

Olive street over by Cowgirl cafe already has a seedy hotel there. It’s not a good location for a “nice” hotel.

I am not sure who these “younger” people are, but if they are college kids they will be broke and will find the cheapest place possible.

For someone like me who is young”ish”, I prefer comfort, location, and basic amenities to the “architectural style”. I’m at a point in my life where weird sounds awesome. I’d rather try different rooms at Madonna Inn.

So I am curious- who is the market? Why a 4 story building?

Yeah but people are makin money!! Economy’s booming! Who cares about those stupid guidelines?! Right?

With the cocksure arrogant trio of smart alecs who now control the SLO Council, this is to be expected. They claim to be Democrats but act and vote like Trumpists — transparent propaganda streaming out of mouths while being totally disdainful to views of the people.

Are you trying to imply that those “Trumpists” are NOT the People?

What the heck is a Trumpist? Someone who plays the trumpet?

How can a building be a “misfit” in a town run by misfits? God, I love this place!