County to weigh proposal for Nipomo medical clinic

Plans for a $7.5 million nonprofit medical center in Nipomo will go before the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission today, the latest step along a road that clinic directors hope will lead to its opening in early 2013.

The proposal by the Community Health Centers of the Central Coast includes a 28,000-square-foot medical clinic, to be located on the 4.5-acre lot at 150 North Tejas Place where an existing clinic sits.

If the proposal moves forward, the existing building would be converted to administrative offices.

Money for the project comes from a federal grant under the health care reform approved by Congress.

The new clinic is not funded by the county, with which CHC sparred earlier this year over the county’s contribution to the nonprofit organization. The county provides money to the clinics to provide health care for low-income local residents.

Executive Director Ron Castle said the clinic project would provide 100 construction jobs for a year as it is built, and later will allow CHC to expand pediatric, dental, obstetrics, gynecology and other services. It would be open six days a week.

CHC has 25 clinics in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

According to a county staff report, “the major issues with this project are traffic and neighborhood compatibility.” It is close to both Dana Elementary School and Nipomo Community Park.

The Planning Commission is to address those and other issues during today’s hearing. The commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., in San Luis Obispo.