Opinion » Letters

Arguments against development at the old Shell station



San Luis Obispo is potentially in the forefront because we have the brains, the money, and the public will to address (rather than ignore) the cataclysmic impacts of climate change.

Any significant increase in downtown commercial development will drive up the demand for housing, and we do not have the water (due to climate change) to support significant housing growth either downtown or in the suburbs. Exacerbating our water shortage leads to the secondary health risks of poor air quality (resulting from increased airborne particulate and smoke caused by wildfires), aquifer depletion (which results in ground subsidence), and water pollution (resulting from low river flows and higher water temperatures).

High water consumption uses such as hotels, restaurants, and housing should be discouraged. Low water consumption uses more suitable for this site, should they meet other criteria, include retail, office, parking, and public open space.

Excessive building heights (i.e., heights exceeding three stories) lead to loss of sunlight on the sidewalks and public spaces compounded by our seasonal winds and cool ambient temperatures, create heat islands, and place insurmountable demands on our infrastructure (i.e., storm water runoff, disaster emergency preparedness, fire and crime prevention).

Finally, our city is not addressing the unmitigable hazmat health risks associated with the build up of nearly a century of petroleum product leakage on this site. This contaminated site is clearly unsuitable for housing. 

The arguments above do not simply address quality of life issues but rather public health and survival issues as related to the future use of this site and to the future of our downtown.

-- David Brodie and Allan Cooper - San Luis Obispo

-- Allan Cooper - San Luis Obispo

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