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Arroyo Grande church drops homeless housing in favor of building senior apartments

A proposed development would add 97 units of senior assisted living housing on an 11-acre lot behind the Pacific Christian Center in Arroyo Grande, plus a soccer field and new gymnasium.
A proposed development would add 97 units of senior assisted living housing on an 11-acre lot behind the Pacific Christian Center in Arroyo Grande, plus a soccer field and new gymnasium. kleslie@thetribunenews.com

After facing significant pushback for its plan to add transitional housing behind its church near Arroyo Grande High School, Pacific Christian Center has reversed course and plans to add 97 senior assisted living apartments behind its Pilgrim Way and Orchard Avenue property instead.

The church will also seek to add a 9,600-square-foot gym and 52,000-square-foot sports field for public use on the church’s 11-acre lot.

“We want to work hand in hand with the city to make the best possible project that’s beneficial to everybody,” pastor Kevin Gotchal said at a Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night to offer preliminary thoughts on the project before it comes back for an official recommendation at a future date still to be determined.

The new plan will include four phases:

▪  Phase 1: Building 97 senior housing apartments at the southwestern edge of the property.

▪  Phase 2: Constructing the soccer field.

▪  Phase 3: Building the gymnasium.

▪  Phase 4: Improving the existing church and Pacific Coast Christian School classrooms.

One single-family home and part of a storage building would be removed to make way for the project, but otherwise no existing buildings would be impacted.

Pacific Christian Center, formerly the First Assembly of God Church, proposed a development in December. At the time, the development included 30 units for workforce housing or transitional housing for the homeless or those in drug treatment. Another 30 units of senior housing was planned, plus the gym and sports field.

Several people spoke out against the transitional housing component, saying it should not be located so close to a high school.

Lucia Mar Unified School District Superintendent Raynee Daley wrote a letter to the commission in December saying that the district “has strong concerns about the site being used for transient and homeless individuals.”

“If any of the individuals being housed in this proposed development have history of violence, sex offenses, issues with drug addiction, or unresolved mental health, the proposed location is too close to a school to be deemed safe,” Daley wrote.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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