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SLO overrides airport commission

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San Luis Obispo city officials will move forward with changes to land-use designations in areas south of the city despite objections from the SLO County Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC).

Councilman Dan Rivoire, who had asked to continue the item from Dec. 2 because that was his first meeting with the City Council, cast the key vote on Dec. 9. Rivoire’s vote gave the City Council the 4-1 majority needed to override the ALUC and move forward with an update of the Land Use and Circulation Elements (LUCE) of the city’s General Plan.

“I believe deeply that moving forward with our LUCE update is one of the best ways we can move forward,” Rivoire said, noting that he believed the update would help increase public safety and public health and address the shortage of affordable housing.

According to the 2010 Census, 36.7 percent of SLO residents own a home, as compared to the state average of 55.3 percent.

The LUCE update includes specific area plans and land use designations that allow for the development of such high-profile projects as San Luis Ranch and Avila Ranch. (No specific development projects have yet been approved.)

Several residents asked the city to hold off on its decision and to try to reach a compromise with the ALUC and the Caltrans Division of Aeronautics. City officials and residents have both alluded to the possibility that Caltrans, which has backed the ALUC’s decisions, would file a lawsuit.

Asked about such a possibility, Caltrans Public Information Officer Jim Shivers said in an email, “Caltrans feels it would be premature to speculate on such a matter at this time.”

At issue are ALUC safety and noise buffers that city officials have called outdated and not supported by the facts. Airport commissioners, on the other hand, have held firm that high-density development and airports don’t mix due to noise and safety concerns.

Mayor Jan Marx decried the ALUC and said commissioners were unwilling to budge. Marx said she hopes it will be possible to work more closely with new commissioners in the future.

 

Councilman Dan Carpenter was the sole dissenting vote.

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