An embattled proposal for a commercial and residential development at East Grand Avenue and Courtland Street in Arroyo Grande will head back to the City Council on Thursday for a revote, after a bureaucratic slip-up invalidated the council’s previous approval.
The project — which calls for construction of three commercial buildings and 36 single-family homes on the west side of the city — was approved by the City Council on Sept. 8 after a recommendation by the city Planning Commission to deny the proposal.
The project proposed by developer Nick Tompkins of NKT Commercial has a long history, last going before the City Council in December 2014, when Tompkins was told to redesign it. That redesign then went to the Planning Commission twice this year before it ultimately was rejected in August.
In a 3-2 vote last month, with Mayor Jim Hill and Councilman Tim Brown dissenting, the City Council approved the redesign that cut the single-family units from 38 to 36 and increased guest parking from 23 to 37 spaces.
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"I was one who could not support the project in December," Councilwoman Barbara Harmon said at that Sept. 8 meeting. "But seeing what we have before us this evening, I would like to support it and have it move forward."
Three days after that Sept. 8 approval, the city received a cure-and-correct letter from Los Osos resident Julie Tacker, who claimed the public hearing had not been properly noticed.
The courtesy notices distributed in the nearby Berry Gardens neighborhood listed the address of City Council chambers as 300 E. Branch St., not the correct address of 215 E. Branch St.
Because of the letter, the City Council has decided to hold another public hearing on Thursday, to allow all interested parties who may have been impacted by the address error a chance to comment, Community Development Director Teresa McClish said.
Noticing errors and delays are nothing new for the Courtland Street and Grand Avenue project: This is the fourth time Tompkins has proposed a project for the property he purchased in 2007.
In 2010 and 2011, the council considered — but never took final action on — retail center proposals that at one point called for a Food 4 Less grocery store, which some residents said would harm existing grocery stores and increase traffic, according to previous Tribune reports.
The proposal Tompkins brought to the council in December 2014 divided the property into commercial and residential parts. The council chose to take no official action on that proposal. Instead, it entered into a memorandum of understanding with Tompkins, asking him to bring back a revised proposal that upped the commercial square footage and lessened residential.
In August, the latest incarnation of the project was delayed in coming before the Planning Commission after some residents raised concerns that it had not been properly noticed.
The project was put on an agenda for a public hearing at the commission's Aug. 4 meeting, but notices apparently were not correctly posted on the property alerting the public of the hearing. The commission decided to continue the hearing to Aug. 18.
At that meeting, the commission considered delaying the project once again, but voted to recommend against it at Tompkins' request, so that he could appeal the decision to the City Council instead of being forced to redesign the project again at the commission level.