It all started about a year ago when we learned that SLO County and the city of Grover Beach planned to allow for the purchase and redevelopment of Hillside Community Church into a homeless center. It seemed like an admirable venture on the surface, one that would align with the state's mandate to develop affordable housing. The problem is that Grover Beach residents who live nearby were never informed about the plan or given an opportunity to provide input.
Furthermore, the project location was out of place, in the center of a middle-class neighborhood surrounded by residential homes. If we'd only been afforded an opportunity to discuss the plan ahead of time, other more practical locations could have been considered and identified. This project was put on hold pending litigation over title ownership and other problems. That could all have been avoided if the lines of communication were flowing.
Earlier this year, much to our chagrin, Grover Beach planned to reconfigure the Newport Avenue corridor with bike lanes, asphalt berms, restrictive parking, and 25 percent driving lane reduction, mostly in an effort to reduce street maintenance costs. The final design cost taxpayers $300,000 more than the design recommended by city staff. Again, local residents who live on Newport Avenue weren't adequately informed of the city's final reconfiguration plan nor were we able to provide input or feedback, invaluable for successful projects.
So, for a second time, we fought back, challenged the city and convinced them to remove the berms and modify the project.
To the mayor and Grover Beach City Council: Do you see a problematic pattern here? Are we lost in translation? How about next time we all meet to discuss future projects affecting our city.