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Safer route to Laguna Middle School OK’d, with a catch

The San Luis Obispo City Council has approved a plan that will lead to a safer route to school for students at Laguna Middle School and C.L. Smith Elementary.

The council advised staff last week to move forward with a plan to build a pedestrian/bicycle path and a bridge over Prefumo Creek that will connect the Oceanaire and Laguna Shores neighborhoods.

A Safe Routes to School grant of $798,600 will cover the cost of the project.

However, there might be a glitch.

The path is located to the northeast side of the Windemere Condominiums and some residents there are concerned about a public path so close to their homes.

An easement for the project can only be granted if all of the property owners agree.

Resident Paul Johansen filed an appeal of the architectural review commission’s approval of the bridge.

The City Council voted 3-2 to deny the appeal but stipulated that the city must get the easement agreement before moving forward. The council also directed staff to widen a portion of the path and add lighting if feasible.

The council directed staff to create an alternative project in case an agreement can not be reached between the city and the condo owners, Mayor Dave Romero said.

That option will reconstruct the bike lane and sidewalk along Los Osos Valley Road between Oceanaire and Laguna Lane — making it passable by two bikes and elevating the sidewalk as an additional safety precaution for students walking to and from school.

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