The Cambrian

Cambria senior care facility county hearing set for Friday morning

A county planning officer due to host a hearing Friday, March 1, on a proposal to build a 31-unit, 41-bed senior care facility in Cambria might get an earful from disgruntled North Coast advisors.

In late November, the county’s North Coast advisors gave a wary recommendation, with strong conditions, to a minor-use permit to build the 28,265-square-foot, two-story senior care center on one of Cambria’s busiest residential streets, Ardath Drive near Highway 1.

Less than three months later, there were verbal fireworks when North Coast Advisory Council members learned county planners hadn’t added those conditions to their recommendations for the Kingston Bay Senior Living Center. Most NCAC conditions dealt with drainage and traffic near the proposed center, or safety and space for those who would be parking at, walking past or driving to or from the center.

The center at 1981 Green Street would include in a Craftsman-style building. The triangular property wraps from Londonderry Street on the west to Green Street on the east and a bit south. (Some maps show Green Street south of Ardath as part of London Lane). The facility would be licensed for residential assisted living and memory care.

The senior center wasn’t on the council’s Feb. 20 agenda, and no formal action was taken, but there was some disgruntled discussion during county Planner Airlin Singewald’s report on the project’s upcoming county-level hearing.

The council’s advice has been appended to the staff report, he said, but not included in the county’s 68 recommended conditions of approval.

Some council members vowed to attend that hearing at 9 a.m. at the County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo. County Planning Hearing Officer Dana Lilley is expect to head up the county’s public review of the project. For details or the staff report, go to

Any decision by Lilley can be appealed to the Planning Commission and county supervisors.

Council member Erwin Ohanessian repeatedly questioned Singewald Feb. 18 about why NCAC’s recommendations hadn’t been included.

“We’re here to provide local input … kind of as the eyes and ears at ground level,” said NCAC Chairman Tom Gray. “If our conditions aren’t respected generally, there’s no reason for us. We’ve been thinking in good faith the county would actually listen.”

Supervisor Bruce Gibson told the council “The input of all advisory councils is very important,” and that “staff sometimes is in a very challenging position between demanding applicants and the decision makers.”

Among NCAC’s recommended conditions are:

• Installing sidewalks on a full 8-foot-wide shoulder along Ardath Drive, with shoulder improvements on Green Steet, making it easier for people to walk past safely and for elderly center residents, some in wheelchairs, to get to a nearby bus stop or church;

• Providing additional parking, beyond the 19 spaces already in the design (the county requires 11). With up to 13 employees per shift, two spaces assigned to the facility’s transport vans and two other spaces reserved for those with disabled-driver placards, visitors might have to park on the street; and

• Installing a right-turn lane from Ardath to southbound Highway 1.