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A tiny roadblock delayed this 915-home Paso development. Now, it's back on track

A map showing the 211-acre Beechwood development site in the southeast corner of Paso Robles. An open house will be held at Virginia Peterson Middle School on Wednesday night to discuss the project.
A map showing the 211-acre Beechwood development site in the southeast corner of Paso Robles. An open house will be held at Virginia Peterson Middle School on Wednesday night to discuss the project.

A long-planned Paso Robles development that could include more than 900 units of housing is moving forward after a five-year delay.

The Beechwood development — which is planned for a 211-acre site bordered by Beechwood Drive and Creston and Meadowlark roads in the southeast corner of the city — has been in the works for about 15 years.

Residents on Wednesday night will get the chance to talk to developers about the latest iteration of the project, which will include 915 units of various types of housing.

Dan Lloyd, a Cayucos-based consultant representing the site's owners, said the development will include single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes and condominiums. It will also feature commercial space, parks and a network of multi-use trails.

Lloyd said the development will feature a density similar to those of nearby neighborhoods.

"We're in keeping with the character of the neighborhood," he said.

A long-planned project

The Beechwood project has long been part of Paso Robles' development plans.

In 2004, the city annexed the Beechwood site and another nearby 249-acre piece of property, known as Olsen Ranch.

But a tough construction market brought on by the Great Recession and traffic issues caused delays in 2008.

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A diagram shows the layout of the proposed Beechwood development, which would include 915 units of housing on 211 acres of land in the southeast corner of Paso Robles. Courtesy city of Paso Robles

Plans began moving forward again in 2011. Two years later, multiple owners — including Tom Erskine and Mike Harrod of Paso Robles and Jay Heubner of San Luis Obispo — proposed a 1,011-unit project for the Beechwood site, to be developed separate from the nearby Olsen Ranch property.

The number of units was eventually shaved down to 963. In November 2013, the City Council voted to allow studies examining how the project would impact neighboring developments, the environment and the city's water supply.

Drought delays environmental studies

Lloyd said those studies included checking the area for fairy shrimp, an endangered species. But conducting this type of study was impossible during the drought, when there wasn't enough water to examine a potential population, he said.

But the wet winter of late 2016 and early 2017 brought enough water for the study, and researchers were able to verify the Beechwood site is not home to fairy shrimp.

The rest of the environmental impact report will take an additional six to nine months to complete, according to Susan DeCarli, a city planner. City officials will then need to sign off on the proposed project.

Lloyd said he hopes to get all the necessary approvals by the end of this year and begin construction during late 2019 or early 2020.

The entire construction process will take about five years, he said.

Developers and city staff will hold an open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Virginia Peterson Middle School, located at 2501 Beechwood Drive.

For more information, contact Susan DeCarli at 805-237-3970.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseymholden
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