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.”


Personally I am glad someone is trying to stop this. The old frat house has no link to Luneta other than being at the top of the street. It does not “empty” onto Luneta. The city plans to put in a lot of student apartments there, have the students drive up and down Luneta and effectively destroy what I always thought the city wanted: walkable, safe neighborhoods where people knew one another and their children played outside together. The house is being moved only to accommodate more units. It’s really a bad project in many ways and I don’t blame people for being upset. There are always the nay-sayers but this project is a joke and is being approved only because the city wants the money.


Trees or students…hmmmmmmm, I’ll take the trees.

Jorge Estrada

For you who live in SLO, when it comes to development the word of question should not be sued, it should be sewer as this growth is a shared expense.


When you are trying to patch such a negative financial picture as the one SLO has, and you are just trying to keep the pyramid standing long enough for you to get yours and then bail, such as City Manager Lichtig, what else do you expect them to do but take the money from the developers?


Question: how many trees were removed to construct the plaintiff’s homes? These people have tried to say the topped eucalyptus trees warrant historical significance. What a joke. Those eucs would be the first historical trees of that species in the state. Anyone with half a brain and just a little knowledge of trees would know that trees that have received indiscriminate topping are not candidates for historical significance. Now, if these trees are left unchecked, they will begin to slough large tops and limbs into the home which is historical. The dollar amount to salvage the home is so large that the only reasonable way to preserve it is to make money developing the property. This lame ploy by the NIMBYs is a joke. Not in my back yard. Hypocrites.


The old Delta Tau frat house, aye? Good times… It would be interesting to know the financial interests of this group of “concerned citizens.”

The city council is clearly getting greased. Sad but that’s the way it is.


I’ve been to some raging parties there over the years. I wonder if they still have the stripper pole in the parlor area? Good times


And the finished overhead attic space was a library of porn magazines (ah the good old days…), easily 200+ feet of shelf space. Every magazine one could imagine, in perfect order, alphabetical by name and issue date. For the record, I was not a member of the frat, just at a couple of parties and got the tour of the house.


Unlikely case.

Rich in MB

and once again the Anti-Development Cabal is doing all the can to stop affordable housing. They have theirs….screw everyone else. When will the insanity end.


“Affordable housing?” The property owners are going to stuff students “visiting” from Santa Monica and Los Altos Hills into the units like sardines. “Affordable housing?” LOL…


“visiting students”? You make no sense. This is not going to be a hotel. It is going to be long term housing with mostly likely year leases. And clearly you are not familiar with the law of supply and demand. If these units are priced higher than the going rate on the market, they will not be rented. And increasing the supply of housing will help drop prices and make things more affordable – every little bit counts.Cancelling this project will only lead to higher market prices.