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Proposed Food 4 Less project going before Arroyo Grande City Council Tuesday night

Arroyo Grande council members are set to discuss two projects Tuesday night proposed for a site at East Grand Avenue and South Courtland Street — including one that would add a 50,881-square-foot Food 4 Less grocery store.

One project would add a restaurant, a commercial building and the Food 4 Less store; the other would allow People’s Self-Help Housing Corp. to build 36 below-market-rate apartments.

The Planning Commission recommended the council deny both projects, in part because of concerns it had about the size of the Food 4 Less store, its inconsistency with development standards such as too few parking spaces, and its visual impacts on the area

The city has received several letters and e-mails from residents, supporting and opposing the project — specifically the inclusion of the Food 4 Less.

Those in opposition say they’re concerned the 24-hour grocery store could harm nearby grocers such as the Cookie Crock Warehouse, located a few blocks east from the proposed store, and Spencer’s Fresh Market, which sits diagonally across the street.

A Von’s grocery store is also located in Grover Beach a few blocks west of the project site.

“Adding such a large complex to this already compacted area would further dilute the city’s identity,” Norm Stewart wrote in an e-mail. “There may be a short-term spike in property tax or sales tax revenue, but once you lose another home town store to this large chain, those gains will be lost.”

Those supporting it say the overall project would beautify the site, bring in local revenue and give consumers a choice of where to shop.

“If you decide against this project, I will still shop at the Food 4 Less in San Luis Obispo,” wrote Richard Anderson. “But I would again rather give my city and community the business and the tax money.”

City officials estimate the project will generate $100,000 in sales tax revenue — though $30,000 to $40,000 of that could be revenue lost from other stores.

Developer Nick Tompkins of NKT Commercial bought the 6-acre property in 2007, and in 2009 the city’s Redevelopment Agency purchased a 1.63-acre parcel from him to use for subsidized housing.

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