Senior living plan appeal expected by Monday's deadline

Coastal Commission may have final say on 31-unit Kingston Bay project in Cambria

ktanner@thetribunenews.comJune 20, 2013 

The future of the Kingston Bay Senior Living project in Cambria may ultimately lie in the hands — and votes — of the California Coastal Commission. The deadline to file an appeal is the end of the business day Monday.

County supervisors reaffirmed the minor-use permit May 14 for the 41-bed, 31-unit multi-family housing facility for “frail seniors,” including some with memory loss, at the edge of a residential neighborhood near the town’s southern entrance, just off Highway 1.

Supervisors partially upheld an appeal adding additional conditions to the project. That appeal was filed by Bruce Fosdike, a member of the North Coast Advisory Council, who lives near the project site at the intersection of Ardath Drive and Green Street.

No appeal of those decisions had been filed with the commission as of Tuesday, June 18, but at least one is expected, according to state Coastal Planner Daniel Robinson. He added that commissioners could also file their own appeal of the permit decision once commission staff has finished their analysis of the project.

Meanwhile, commission staffers are reviewing the project “just like we would any other project in Cambria,” Robinson said.

“We’ll start with water issues and work our way down” the list of other concerns, such as how the project deals with the state’s “very protective scenic and visual policies,” especially with respect to “views from Highway 1, which are very important,” Robinson said. “And, from the biological sense, there’s the impact to the Monterey pine forest. There are community character issues as well.”

He said, “We’ll get a good sense of the issues from the county staff report and local appeal from Bruce Fosdike,” along with contentions raised during public comment at hearings about the project and from people on all sides of the issue who lobby the commission staff. 

The county ultimately imposed more than 70 conditions on the permit, including restrictions on delivery-truck size and type, requirements for lighting, irrigation, visual impact and building design, structure screening by landscaping, parking, traffic patterns, safety for the driving and walking public, and storm-runoff containment or restraint.

The assisted-living project would be constructed in a multi-family zone where an apartment or condominium complex with up to 33 units could have been built, according to county staff. 

A previous, slightly larger senior-housing project, which had its water “intent to serve” letters from Cambria’s services district, was approved for the site without opposition in 2002.

Kingston Bay would provide its senior residents with help with daily tasks but not medical treatment, according to developer Jeff King. Those residents would neither drive nor be disruptive neighbors, he said. There would be common recreation, socializing, garden and dining areas, plus a commercial-grade kitchen that would serve only the residents.

He has estimated the project would cost $8.5 million to build and generate about $1.2 million a year in salaries to the round-the-clock employees, no more than 13 of whom would be onsite at any given time.

Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.

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