The Grover Beach City Council is talking trains, buses, and police consolidation.
At its Feb. 22 meeting, the council discussed plans for a Grover Beach train station capital improvement project, which would include such upgrades as a roundabout, increased parking, and a sheltered bus stop. There was also talk about the impact on the coast habitat surrounding the site, including what effect the project would have on the wetlands near the train station.
The council ultimately moved to adopt a mitigated negative declaration for the project, finding no evidence in the impact reports to suggest a negative environmental impact. The motion came despite concerns raised by a citizen during open comments that the project focused too much on site improvement and not enough on infrastructure changes to the station, which she claimed currently left passengers vulnerable to the elements and often unable to use the bathrooms.
The council also discussed plans to combine the Arroyo Grande Police Department with Grover Beach’s. Both departments’ chiefs were present for the meeting, and both expressed support for the move. Chief Jim Copsey of Grover Beach admitted the move could have a negative personal impact because of the reduction in management that would be inherent in the consolidation.
Copsey and Arroyo Grande’s Chief Steve Annabali expressed concerns about how long both departments could operate at their current capacities. Grover Beach is functioning with a minimum 17 sworn officers, while Arroyo Grande faces similar reductions and concessions.
Copsey said the consolidation would allow both cities to have five to six officers out on patrol at all times.
Council members voiced questions about what a combined force would look like, where offices would be located, and ultimately what the department would be called. Both chiefs said that the plans were in the development phase.
The council created a motion to begin negotiations with the city of Arroyo Grande for a joint law enforcement and dispatch agency and jurisdiction. The motion carried with no resolution.