The San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to begin the application process for San Luis Ranch — the 131-acre housing and commercial project planned for the Dalidio Ranch at the southern gateway of the city.
The council’s vote allows developer Gary Grossman of Coastal Community Builders to begin seeking the General Plan amendments and various entitlements needed to move the project forward.
The vote also allows the city to put out a request for proposals to do the environmental impact report required of the project.
Grossman, who is still in escrow for the $19.7 million property, was cautioned by the council Tuesday night to prepare a project application that reserved 50 percent of the property, or 65 acres, as open space — as required by the city’s General Plan.
As of now, the project being discussed only includes 56 acres of open space on site with the hope of fulfilling the remaining requirement offsite.
Additional project options will also be studied in the environmental impact report.
Several residents who addressed the council during public comment Tuesday petitioned city leaders to make sure that as much agricultural land as possible was preserved.
“These lands are invaluable,” said Jenna Smith, executive director of Central Coast Grown, which manages the city’s adjacent farm. “We have maintained support for the 50 percent, and anything less is not acceptable.”
The developer envisions a network of walking paths, pocket parks and trails that will connect neighborhoods of up to 500 homes to open spaces surrounding the proposed development.
The project also includes plans for an enclave of up to 200,000 square feet of commercial space, 150,000 square feet of office space and a high-end 200-room hotel with conference facilities.
The project is now located in the county but within the city’s sphere of influence and will eventually be annexed into the city.
The proposed project is drastically different from what the property potentially could accommodate following Measure J in 2006. That measure called for developing 530,000 square feet of retail development and 60 housing units.
“They do have the entitlements from Measure J,” said Councilman Dan Carpenter. “If we send the wrong message today, we invite them to go elsewhere. We will come up with a better project.”