Paso Robles to review plan for 1,011-home Beechwood project

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comSeptember 23, 2013 

The public is invited next month to review a major housing project potentially coming to Paso Robles’ southeast corner.

The city's Planning Commission is gearing up to host a public workshop at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 to review a long-discussed conceptual site plan for the Beechwood project.

The project, which originally had 674 housing units allowed in the city’s master plan for growth, is now proposing 1,011 new residences and three to five acres of commercial development off Creston Road and Beechwood Drive.

“This is a very early workshop to indicate ... if (elected city officials) agree with the layout and assumptions of the plan,” community development director Ed Gallagher said. “It’s just an application.”

A more detailed proposal, then an environmental impact report, would follow before the project ultimately comes back to City Council for final review. A timeline for that wasn’t immediately available.

The Beechwood development was initially one of two housing projects commonly known in the community as the “Olsen-Beechwood project,” which the city annexed about a decade ago.

The concept began when the city approached the property owners about annexing their agricultural land for housing. That led to the formation of the two projects joining about a dozen property owners to develop two communities with small lots, narrow streets and alleys. A village-type commercial area would also have shops for goods such as groceries and coffee.

However, a lagging construction market during the recession caused the joint projects to stall.

Today, the ideas are going forward as separate endeavors after the Beechwood owners applied separately last April, “which essentially split the project,” said city planning manager Susan DeCarli.

Olsen Ranch, whenever it comes along, is allowed to build up to 673 residences, according to the city’s master plan for growth.

“The Olsens have not moved forward with a new or revised concept for developing their property,” DeCarli said. They will need to do so to bring their development forward, she added.

Since the projects have been included in the city’s long-range planning, their water use has been accounted for as well, according to the city’s planning department.

However, the Beechwood owners would have to fund a city water supply assessment to prove Paso Robles has enough water for the additional units they want, Gallagher said.

The Beechwood site is made up of 13 parcels on 236 acres bordered by Meadowlark Road, Beechwood Drive, Creston Road and the PG&E transmission lines, according to the city.

The city’s Planning Commission and City Council have not yet made their final recommendations on the project, which currently remains in the community review stage.

The public can read drafts of the Beechwood plan on the city’s website, www.prcity.com, or request copies from the community development department by calling 237-3970.

Those with questions can contact DeCarli or Gallagher at sdecarli@prcity.com or egallagher@prcity.com, or call the community development department.

The workshop will be held at the Paso Robles Library Conference Room/City Council Chambers at 1000 Spring St.

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