Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly said Caren Ray supported the Courtland project. She spoke at the meeting to support the council upholding its previous decision, not the project itself.
The Arroyo Grande City Council held firm to its previous decision to approve a mixed-use project that would add three commercial buildings and 36 single-family homes at Grand Avenue and Courtland Street, after a public noticing error sent the project back before the council Thursday night.
Opponents made an unsuccessful last-ditch effort Thursday night to persuade the council to reject the project, but after two hours of discussion and public comment, the council once again voted 3-2 in favor of the project. Mayor Jim Hill and Councilman Tim Brown dissented.
Hill and Brown also both apologized to meeting attendees and developer Nick Tompkins of NKT Commercial for the noticing error.
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"I apologize to the developers and the public that we have to do a re-do," Brown said. "Nobody here tonight should have had to come back tonight."
After the project was approved Sept. 8, the city received a cure-and-correct letter alerting them to an error in courtesy notices distributed in the nearby Berry Gardens neighborhood that listed the incorrect address for the City Council Chambers.
Because of the letter, the council decided to hold another public hearing Thursday to allow all interested parties who may have been impacted by the address error a chance to attend and comment.
The public speakers at Thursday's meeting were evenly divided on the project, with nine speakers protesting the development — mainly for traffic concerns — and eight speaking in favor of the project.
Notably, San Luis Obispo developer and businessman Bill Hales and former county supervisor (and one-time Arroyo Grande City Council member) Caren Ray both encouraged the council to hold to its previous decision.
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 outlets and increase traffic, according to previous Tribune reports.
Tompkins unsuccessfully brought another version of the project to the city in 2014, but was ultimately directed to pursue a plan that developed more commercial square footage and reduced the residential.
Tompkins brought a new version of the project before the Planning Commission in August, where commissioners voted to recommend against it.