The Arroyo Grande City Council has settled on one of many options for finally getting its police department a long-overdue new station.
In a 3-2 vote at its Nov. 27 meeting, the council tentatively approved city staff’s recommendation for building a new station on a portion of Old Ranch Road and West Branch Street.
The problem: The West Branch location comes with a lot of what-ifs. Namely, it depends on a site previously approved for a 53,000-square-foot recreational facility for the Five Cities Community Services Foundation. But a recent foundation feasibility study raised questions regarding its ability to fund the project, so the city is hoping to swoop in if that group decides it can’t move forward. The city should know by March.
Additionally, the site has a deed restriction placed on it by the county, which requires it to be used for public or recreational purposes. However, preliminary talks with the county on lifting the restriction have been promising, according to a city staff report.
The West Branch location is expected to cost roughly $5.9 million, offset by revenues from the sale of the current property, as well as possible grant funding.
Council members Jim Guthrie and Caren Ray were the dissenting votes, instead preferring a remodel or expansion of the current station on North Halcyon Road, citing too many logistical and fiscal uncertainties with the West Branch property.
The current station was originally bought from a phone company in 1973 and is rife with structural and electrical problems and deficiencies. The department has also grown significantly since the purchase.
A final decision on a site selection is expected to come in March.