The corner of Taft Street and Kentucky Avenue will get a major facelift following the San Luis Obispo City Council’s unanimous approval Tuesday night of a mixed-use project.
The project will replace a dilapidated, long-neglected vacant gas station with seven townhomes and commercial space suitable for small eateries, retail venues and coffee shops.
Two appellants of the project — Isabel Marques, a resident living nearby, and Sandra Rowley, a member of Residents for Quality Neighborhoods — expressed concerns about the height of the project, which will reach 35 feet at its peak, and that a den in the design of the two-bedroom townhomes could become an additional bedroom.
More than a dozen community members spoke in favor of the project, complimenting its vision for the area and saying that the housing was desperately needed.
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City Council members acknowledged the concerns voiced by the appellants and a handful of community members but said the project met the required guidelines for the area.
Councilmembers Andrew Carter and Kathy Smith encouraged those with concerns about city policies guiding development to address those issues with the city’s Planning Commission.
Councilman Dan Carpenter voted to approve the project but said he shared the concerns voiced by community members about the den being used as a bedroom as well as parking issues.
“I would hope we could come back and not lose sight of deficiencies we have in our policies,” Carpenter said. “Let’s fix and address those before the next project comes before us.”
The city attached a condition to the project that prevents the den from being converted into a bedroom. But it was not clear how that would be enforced.
The project on the northwest corner of Taft Street and Kentucky Avenue is proposed by developer Eran Fields of Icon, a Los Angeles-based company. It will include seven residential units, one of which is designated as an affordable unit, and 3,149 square feet of commercial space on the 19,700-square-foot lot.
The project also features automated lift parking for 10 of the parking spaces, a relatively new design concept to San Luis Obispo. Some concern was raised that the lift could not accommodate large SUVs or trucks on the upper level of the structure, which might push overflow parking into nearby neighborhoods.
The developer said he would be willing to limit the sale or rental of those townhomes to people who only had one large vehicle.
Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.