Grover Beach council moves forward with process that could lead to sale of community garden

The Grover Beach City Council decided this week to move ahead with a process that could eventually lead to a sale of a piece of city-owned land used as a community garden.

However, the council won’t vote on whether to sell the 6,620-square-foot parcel at 920 Brighton Ave. anytime soon.

Instead, council members Monday directed Grover Beach staff to move ahead with a preliminary step — starting the procedure to change the way the property is designated in the city’s general plan, or its blueprint for growth.

The property is designated for parks and recreational use, and the Grover Beach Planning Commission, as well as the City Council, would have to amend the general plan and change the zoning of the site to residential use before the property could be used for housing.

City officials proposed selling the property in June for low-income housing to prevent a budget shortfall. The City Council voted 3-2 to sell it, but the proposal failed because the council needed a four-fifths vote for it to pass after some local residents lodged protests.

The city’s budget includes cuts and uses reserve funds to fill an estimated $800,000 deficit, but it still relies on a property sale to avoid ending the fiscal year with a $250,000 shortfall.