A proposed commercial and residential development in Arroyo Grande will once again return to the drawing board, after the Planning Commission denied a request Tuesday night to recommend the project to the City Council.
The commission unanimously voted against a resolution that would support a proposal from developer Nick Tompkins of NKT Commercial for a development at the corner of East Grand Avenue and South Courtland Street. The commission denied the request because of parking and density concerns.
The current project called for three commercial buildings, totaling approximately 15,600 square feet; four second-story, two-bedroom condos; and 38 single-family detached homes.
It is essentially the same project Tompkins proposed last year, with some alterations made at the request of city officials — most notably, the number of commercial buildings increased from two to three, and the number of single-family detached homes decreased from 41 units to 38.
"This particular layout, we actually can attract tenants, because this is the type of property they like right now,” Tompkins said at the meeting.
Several residents spoke out against the project, citing traffic concerns and a desire for more commercial rather than residential units on the property.
“Can you imagine what Grand Avenue would look like if all this housing goes in?” said Arroyo Grande resident Patty Welsh at the meeting. “Nobody likes what it looks like now, no one will like it then.”
Because it called for amendments to both the general plan and the specific plan for the Berry Gardens area of Arroyo Grande, Tompkins was seeking a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission to the City Council.
The commission decided against the issuing a recommendation, mostly due to concerns that there is too little parking for the commercial portion of the development and worries that the residential portion is too high density.
“It’s tough because (the project) just keeps coming back for more and more and more revisions,” said Commissioner Glenn Martin. “I would be much more inclined to support a plan that called for 28 homes, not 38. There’s just so many issues that affect my ability to make a recommendation for 38 homes.”
This is the fourth time Tompkins has proposed a project at the property, which he purchased in 2007.
In 2010 and 2011, the council considered but never took final action on retail center proposals at that site that at one point called for a Food 4 Less grocery store, which many residents believed would harm existing grocery stores and increase traffic, according to previous Tribune reports.