SLO City sued over controversial housing development

May 10, 2017


A group of concerned citizens is suing the city of San Luis Obispo, arguing that a proposed 33 unit apartment complex at 71 Palomar Avenue that includes the removal of 55 old growth trees is in violation of environmental laws.

The lawsuit, brought on May 3 by Friends of 71 Palomar, accuses the San Luis Obispo City Council of relying on a mitigated negative declaration when it should have required an environmental impact report. Friends of Palomar “are concerned about the significant environmental impact the project will have on biological resources such as trees and wildlife present on the subject property,” according to the lawsuit.

The proposed project includes plans to remove 55 of the 59 trees on the 1.3 acre property and to replant the trees at a two to one ratio. However, the proposed plans do not state which type of tree will be planted or where the new trees are to be planted, according to the lawsuit.

Plaintiffs also question the council’s vote to allow the developer to move the historic 1895 Sandford mansion without performing an environmental review.

In addition, the suit alleges that the city separated discussions of whether Luneta Drive should become a through street from the project’s approval when it should have been combined.

Friends of Palomar are asking the court to stop the project.

“Petitioner possesses no speedy, adequate remedy at law,  in that implementation and development in connection with the project and approval of environmental review will permanently and forever harm, injure, degrade, and impact the environmental values of the city,” the lawsuit says. “Petitioner and its members will suffer irreparable and permanent injuries if respondent’s actions herein are not set aside.”


So we know how this usually goes: This is not a true replanting since it’s very unlikely those trees would survive. What they want to do is to cut down 55 tall, majestic oak, trees hundreds of years old, and replace them with thin, spindly saplings and call it good.

By the way,


Ok, looks like it’s not just oaks they want to clearcut.


Maybe some of these complainers should have been at the zoning hearings that put thus property into high density R4 designation. Then, the developer might not have ever looked at it in the first place. They also could have put their money up to buy the property and fork out another 3/4 mil to keep the historic home intact. Keep in mind, the city, not the developer, wants to open Luneta.