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Palomar Avenue apartments get go-ahead as SLO council denies appeal

The historic Sandford House at 71 Palomar Ave. in San Luis Obispo will be moved to a different spot on the property to make way for 33 apartment units.
The historic Sandford House at 71 Palomar Ave. in San Luis Obispo will be moved to a different spot on the property to make way for 33 apartment units. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

After more than a year in the city planning process, a controversial 33-unit apartment project at 71 Palomar Ave. in San Luis Obispo will move forward.

The San Luis Obispo City Council voted 3-1 Tuesday to deny the appeal, which argued that the high-density residential project should have been subject to California Environmental Quality Act review because of potential impacts, including proposed changes to the historic 1890s-built Sandford House on the site. Mayor Heidi Harmon was the lone “no” vote, and Councilwoman Andy Pease recused herself because of a potential conflict of interest.

About two hours of public comment preceded the council’s decision. Opponents expressed concern about impacts to the neighborhood’s traffic, parking, sewer infrastructure, trees and the historic home. The Sandford home will be moved to a different part of the 1.3-acre site and rehabilitated for use as a leasing office and amenity space.

Council members voting in favor argued a need for housing, saying the project meets goals of providing infill housing near public transportation. The project removes 55 trees from the property but plants 110 new trees — 34 trees on the property and 76 off-site.

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