H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Apr 1, 2011 8:55 PM by Danielle Lerner

New development could bring nearly 200 homes, jobs to San Luis Obispo

A new housing development could soon bring more jobs and more housing to southern San Luis Obispo, but it is also bringing some controversy.

A Southern California investment company recently teamed up with a Camarillo-based builder to acquire the 45-acre property. It is located off Prado Road between Higuera and Broad Streets, and a controversial ballot measure is helping it happen.

That 45-acre parcel could soon be transformed into 177 single-family homes, an affordable housing site and 16 small-scale commercial sites.

"The idea is to create a well-balanced, complete neighborhood, with all kinds of income and age levels," said Erik Justesen, the CEO of RRM Design Group.

Some say more jobs, and more housing are exactly what the city needs.

"I think that's great," said Kimberly Fischer, who goes to Cal Poly. "Maybe with more houses there will just be more available locally for students and things like that ."

However others fear it will bring more traffic and endanger local wildlife. It is also the latest reminder of last year's Measure H debate.

"I know we have a renter community but where's the demand really coming from?" said Paden Followwill, who is against the project.

Followwill is one of many people who voted 'yes' on Measure H back in November, which would have blocked the extension of Prado Road between Higuera and Broad Streets. But the measure failed, and now these single-story houses are set to go up in that exact area.

"Yes, I understand that commerce needs to grow and that the city needs to expand, but there are other areas I feel we could expand and other areas we could build housing developments on without having to extend the road," said Followwill.

The land development process is expected to kick off this summer with model homes slated to open early next year. The developer says he will pick the subcontractors for this project from a pool of both national and local workers.

We do not know any listing prices yet, but the developer says they will be consistent with local resale prices. Those are typically between $400,000 and $600,000.

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