SLO City Council’s bad planning continues

Allan Cooper

OPINION by ALLAN COOPER

Let’s get real. The City of San Luis Obispo is giving away the farm. Our pro-development, pro-growth and so-called “progressive” City Council is conspiring with a certain developer to over build (even by State standards) on scarce city land by looking the other way when the floor plans show four bedroom apartment units being drawn up as two bedroom units.

How is this done?

How many houses have you been in where you enter a bedroom through double doors? Some might describe this as an architectural “grand gesture.” But after permits are granted and the building is constructed these double doors miraculously move apart to become two separate doors. And the post separating the two doors is conveniently lined up with an exterior wall partition flanked by two identical windows.

How many high-density apartments have you been in where the bedroom is a spacious 16 feet wide and 18 feet long? And coincidentally each large bedroom has twice the number of fire exits required per bedroom including two interior doors and two exterior windows.

And if you have any remaining doubt that these will be four bedroom units, this City Council is “wink-wink” amenable to the fact that there will be “partitions” running down the centers of these bedrooms, but of course we don’t consider them “walls.”

One of these projects is called The Academy Chorro, and voila!, it’s currently advertising its units as four bedroom, two bath apartments at $1,290 per bed. If you can read floor plans, look at the layout I’ve included for you below.

The other project that features these bogus four bedroom, two bath apartments is 71 Palomar. 71 Palomar is currently under construction.

On Jan. 15, the council unanimously approved a third similar project at 790 Foothill which has gone one step further in misrepresenting the number of bedrooms as well as the number of people occupying these bedrooms. Its bedrooms are an implausible 25 feet long and 12 feet wide.

Unlike The Academy and 71 Palomar, this project will not only be comprised of de facto four bedroom units, but it will also be able to accommodate eight students per unit.

Why? Because two twin beds can comfortably fit into a 12 foot by 12 foot square space once each bedroom is divided in two.

This city blames the state (“the devil made me do it”) by saying that we have to acquiesce on parking reductions, density bonuses, height and lot coverage exceptions. But because they are all too willing to be “conned” by these out-of-town, corporate developers, the city is in fact granting waivers and concessions which far exceed our state mandates.

Because density is calculated based on the number of bedrooms, the developer for 790 Foothill will be rewarded with a 143 percent density bonus, not the state mandated 35 percent density bonus. Because parking requirements are also calculated based on the number of bedrooms, the developer of 22 Chorro was rewarded with a 68 percent parking reduction, not the 40 percent parking reduction the council pretended to be granting.

The price we pay for this is projects that are grossly under parked, projects that are too tall and block views and a housing type which discriminates against working families. Some may describe this sort of planning as “progressive.” Those of us who care about this community simply call it bad planning.

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