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Templeton housing project OK’d by board

San Luis Obispo County supervisors Tuesday approved a controversial housing project in Templeton for working families over the objections of neighbors who said the project was too densely designed.

The board’s deliberations lasted most of the day and featured detailed discussions about housing policy. They also included a rare disagreement between Supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson.

Gibson voiced many concerns about the project, but the main one was that it allows too many houses on a portion of the development zoned recreational. Like many who live near the project, Gibson wanted the 4 acres of recreationally zoned land kept as parkland or for some other recreation use.

This prompted Hill to say that Gibson was being pedantic and allowing perfect to be the enemy of good.

“I see your interpretations to be legalistic in a variety of ways,” Hill told Gibson.

Gibson said the project could be redesigned in a way to improve it and garner more support from the community.

“You’re settling for less than the community deserves,” he told Hill.

This was the third time the 107-unit Creekside Ranch development was before the board. It was previously redesigned after first being proposed in 2009. Once completed, the homes would sell in the $300,000 range; they are intended for working families.

Cindy Chambers of the Wallace Group, representing the Davis family, who own the property, called the redesigned project a “reasonable balance.”

County planning staff rejected the idea that the project is too dense, saying planning guidelines could allow nearly two to three times the 107 homes currently planned — as many as 250 to 300 homes could be built on the 16.76-acre site at 221 N. Main St.

The project was appealed by Will Tucker and Templeton Properties. The slow-growth group North County Watch also opposed the project. Dorothy Jennings said North County Watch has lots of concerns about flooding, traffic, impacts on nearby Toad Creek and the use of recreation land for housing.

Supervisor Jim Patterson said the project is an improvement over the site in its current use as a livestock auction yard, which has been the source of dust, odor and flies. Patterson added he is not sure the community would approve any kind of redesign.

Supervisor Frank Mecham said he would like to see the density of the project reduced, but it has gone through so many iterations that the board was suffering from analysis paralysis.

The board approved the project with small alterations by a 4-to-1 vote with Gibson voting against it.

“I think we have an improved project that is not perfect, certainly,” Hill said.

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