Mar 3, 2011 8:37 PM by Danielle Lerner, KSBY News

More than a dozen protest proposed Courtland Place development

A proposed development sparks controversy and protests in Arroyo Grande Thursday night.

The proposed future of a four-acre piece of land in Arroyo Grande has some folks up in arms. The Courtland Place development is on the corner of Grand Ave. and Courtland St. in Arroyo Grande. Last year, a Food4Less grocery store was looking to move in, sparking outrage from people and businesses nearby. The City Council, though, denied the Food4Less proposal back in November.

But, some people are still uncomfortable with the rest of the project. Even though Food4Less has pulled out of the project, the design plan still allows for a smaller grocery store in the Courtland Place development. Folks are set to rally Thursday night outside of Courtland Place. They tell us they have concerns about traffic and the threat that poses to other small businesses in the area.

"Automobiles and trucks do not mix with pedestrian traffic," said John Mack, who knows firsthand how dangerous that combination can be. A while back, the Arroyo Grande resident says his 13-year-old son was hit by a truck while riding his bike to the local Dollar Store. The teenager suffered minor injuries.

"I have a personal commitment for safety in our neighborhood because I don't want any other neighbors to go through what I went through," said Mack.

Increased traffic is just one of the concerns nearby residents have about a 35,000 square foot grocer moving in to the Courtland Place development. It would be the fifth grocery store within a mile on Grand Ave., and places like Spencer's Market and Cookie Crock Warehouse say it would force them to close their doors.

"We unfortunately don't have any tenants at this point," said C.M. Florence, a principal planner at Oasis Associates, the company behind the Courtland Place development. Florence insists her company is doing all it can to work with the community. She says they've modified the design plan to limit the overall square footage and reduce the size of the building closet to the south property line. They also plan to address the traffic issue before the City Council next week.

"We're going to be posing traffic calming measures as you go south on Courtland before you get into the residential neighborhood," said Florence.

The developer will bring the updated plans and project proposals to the City Council next Tuesday. If the council gives the green light, the developer will then start searching for possible tenants. Tuesday's meeting starts at 7:00p.m. in the Arroyo Grande City Council Chambers on E. Branch St.


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