The San Luis Obispo City Council will be asked Tuesday to approve a mixed-use project slated to replace a dilapidated, empty gas station on Taft Street despite neighborhood concerns about the size of the development.
The project, on the northwest corner of Taft and Kentucky Avenue, is proposed by developer Eran Fields of Icon, a Los Angeles-based company. The development includes seven residential units and 3,149 square feet of commercial space on the 19,700-square-foot corner lot.
Isabel Marques, who has lived in the area for 50 years, filed an appeal of the project, saying it reaches 35 feet at its height and is too tall for the surrounding area, which consists mainly of single-family homes.
Marques said she isn’t opposed to redeveloping the area, she just thinks it can be done in a way that is more compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods.
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“Something has to go there, we just want that third floor gone,” Marques said. “I told them I would take my hammer and help take the third floor off.”
The planned homes include five three-story townhomes, one two-bedroom, single-story apartment and an apartment above the retail space.
The project also features automated lift parking for 10 of the parking spaces, a relatively new design concept to San Luis Obispo. The Mosque of the Nasreen on Walnut Street is the only other building in the city to use lift parking.
The project was approved by the city’s Architectural Review Commission on June 18 with a 5-2 vote, but the City Council is being asked to make a final decision because of the appeals.
Residents for Quality Neighborhoods, a 22-year-old organization comprising community members who advocate for preserving and enhancing San Luis Obispo’s quality of life, also appealed the project, saying its size, scale and mass are not well-matched to the area.
The project has been revised several times since first proposed in 2009, reducing its size significantly. The original proposal included 20 residential units and 5,000 square feet of commercial space.
Roger Frederickson, a lawyer representing the developer, submitted several letters to the council from nearby neighbors who support the project.
“We do value community input,” said Fields, the developer. “Anything we have done has always been with that in mind. Ultimately we decided to go with a fraction of the project we are entitled to build.”
Fields said he hopes to have the project completed by fall 2013 if the City Council approves it Tuesday.
The City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Council Chambers, 990 Palm St.