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Could a 40-unit affordable housing complex be coming to Pismo Beach?

A new Peoples’ Self-Help Housing complex could be coming to Pismo Beach, roughly a year after the city was called out for being the only San Luis Obispo County city to be out of compliance with the state’s affordable housing standards.

On Tuesday, the City Council will consider authorizing negotiations with Peoples’ Self-Help for an affordable housing project at 855 4th Street.

According to a city staff report, Peoples’ Self-Help is in escrow to purchase the property on the outskirts of Pismo Beach. The lot is currently home to a vacant medical office building.

Though the project is in the earliest conceptual phases, Peoples’ Self-Help expects approximately 40 units with parking and common amenities could be built at the 1.2 acre site, according to the staff report.

The site was identified in the city’s latest Housing Element Update as a potential location for affordable housing development (in those documents, the city said a local builder was considering a 60-unit, not 40-unit project there).

“This project is important as it would allow us to provide housing for many of the workforce that contributes to the economy and would also help us towards meeting our state-mandated housing goals,” City Manager Jim Lewis wrote in an email to The Tribune on Friday.

In December 2018, Pismo Beach received a letter from the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, notifying the city that it was out of compliance with California law because it had not yet submitted a required housing element to the state for its most recent cycle.

A housing element outlines how California cities expect to add more affordable housing during that timespan.

The city received a time extension on its element, and has since been pushing for more affordable housing developments to break ground in Pismo.

Lewis told The Tribune in January that they city was restricted largely by lack of available space, as well as lack of interest from developers.

At the time, Pismo had $3.5 million in affordable housing funding available to help developers, but “nobody is taking me up on it,” Lewis said.

On Friday, Lewis said the city has since received numerous inquiries from interested developers, somewhere between five and seven, he said.

They ultimately chose the Peoples’ Self-Help project because of its previous track record within the city (it currently operates a 14-unit complex on Park Street), according to the city staff report.

The City Council will vote on the authorization to enter negotiations at its meeting on Tuesday.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.
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