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Proposed commercial center in Templeton gets go-ahead by county

A commercial center just north of the Trader Joe’s near Vineyard Avenue and Highway 101 in Templeton has received the go-ahead from county supervisors despite concerns about traffic.

The proposal calls for 19,000 square feet of commercial space in three buildings on Rossi Road. Hearing officer Matt Janssen approved the plan in December, but North County Watch, an environmental group, appealed his decision to the Board of Supervisors.

North County Watch outlined several appeals issues, but the discussion focused on traffic, which has become worse because of the popularity of Trader Joe’s.

Current employees at that shopping center, as well as some customers, park at the site where the new buildings would go. It has become an overflow lot.

Traffic problems on Rossi Road, in the shopping center, and in the dangerous area where Vineyard Road, Rossi Road and the Highway 101 entrance mingle worried supervisors, who approved the center Tuesday.

When the new development goes in, Chairman Frank Mecham said, “traffic will be either exacerbated or relieved.” He said he wasn’t sure which it would be.

However, he and other supervisors worked with the developer, R&M Rossi Road Development LLC, to craft conditions of approval under which parking would be accommodated during and after construction of the new center, by adding spaces and providing off-site parking.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson voted against the proposal, which he likened to Tefft Street in Nipomo. Tefft Street where it intersects with Highway 101 developed haphazardly, he said, and created traffic problems.

Supervisor Jim Patterson, who voted for the new center, sought to have North County Watch’s appeal fee waived. He noted that supervisors had improved the plan and would not have had the chance to do so had the group not appealed.

His motion died for lack of a second.

North County Watch wanted the new commercial development to go to the Planning Commission, which would have put it through a more rigorous review, rather than having a lone planner approve it.

When the gambit failed, they went to the Board of Supervisors.

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