Cal Poly sorority wants to lease former Sanitarium bed and breakfast

acornejo@thetribunenews.comSeptember 24, 2013 

A San Luis Obispo bed and breakfast will become a sorority house, if approved by the Planning Commission on Wednesday night.

Kappa Kappa Gamma, the newest sorority at Cal Poly, wants to lease the former Sanitarium bed and breakfast at 1716 Osos St.

The building, on the master list of historic properties in the city, has a rich history including its start as a private hospital in the 1880s.

During World War II, the building became a women's boarding house, then a rental. It has also served as a sorority and a fraternity house in its past.

Suzi Bliss purchased the building in 1983 and slowly renovated it into a bed and breakfast with an artistic flair, opening it for business in 2004.

Bliss stopped taking reservations this month after being approached by the sorority, which hopes to lease the building for five years.

“I plan on doing something else down the road,” Bliss said. “I just have other interests right now … It is time for change.”

The two-story white building, on the southeast corner of Leff and Osos Streets, known historically as the Hageman Sanitarium, was built with a neo-classical design and semicircular archways on the front porch and second-story balcony.

“This would be its third incarnation,” said Bliss. “I love the place and wanted somebody who would take good care of it. This way it will serve the college and still be used in a social way.”

The Planning Commission must approve a use permit in order for the sorority to lease the building.

The permit stipulates that only 10 people can live in the nine-room building at one time. It also is being recommended that a cap of 15 people be put on meetings and gatherings. The sorority would be required to get prior approval from city Community Development Director Derek Johnson to host more people on the property.

In addition, the sorority must remain affiliated with the Interfraternity Council at Cal Poly.

The Planning Commission will decide tonight if the existing seven parking spaces are enough.

“With several apartment buildings, single family residences, and a wide variety of offices and businesses, the addition of a sorority seems to be a use that would be hardly noticed in the neighborhood,” wrote Timothy Becher, of Becher Design Associates, on behalf of the applicant.

Becher said that 10 permanent bicycle racks would be added to the property and guests will be asked to carpool or take the bus to and from the house to minimize impacts to the surrounding neighborhood.

So far, no written objections have been filed with the city.

The Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Council Chambers, 990 Palm St.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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