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‘Right idea, wrong location’: Residents push back on proposed affordable housing project

Posted at 10:43 PM, Mar 25, 2019

“Right idea, wrong location.” That’s what Arroyo Grande residents are saying about the idea of a youth transitional housing and affordable housing project proposed for their neighborhood.

KSBY first did a report on the project in February. Now, dozens of red posters sit in front of Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach resident’s homes in protest of the idea.

“We’re all volunteers and we’re just concerned about our neighborhood, our homes, our families and our schools,” said Ben Oakley, who is a part of a newly formed group called Neighbors for Safety.

The group formed after hearing that 5 Cities Coalition and People’s Self Help Housing submitted a joint application to San Luis Obispo County for funding the two-phase housing project. Project managers say the plans are in the preliminary phase and details haven’t been nailed down yet.

“We can’t do anything without that money, that’s where we start,” said Ken Trigueiro, Executive Vice President of People’s Self Help Housing.

Neighbors say the project needs to go someplace else.

“We are not against the homeless and we understand that this is a challenge that the entire region has to face. The question is, where do you put this type of facility?” Oakley said.

The neighborhood group would like to see the housing project in the commercial, industrial zones of Grover Beach rather than residential ones.

“Safety is the primary concern of the residents. We have an elementary school a half mile up the street, a preschool a couple blocks that way, a senior center just a few blocks away,” added Oakley. “I think the security concerns are pretty obvious.”

Project managers want to take all of those concerns into account, but say public outreach will come if and when the application for funding is approved. If the application is approved, the San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors will hold several public meetings. If the project plan moves ahead from there, the Grover Beach planning commission and city council would also hold public meetings on the matter.

The non-profit organizations will not hear back on whether or not they’ll receive grant funding from San Luis Obispo County for another month.

To add to the frustration for residents, the official line between Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande splits the neighborhood. The housing project proposed is proposed in Grover Beach city limits, so Arroyo Grande elected officials can’t do a lot to help out their constituents. Regardless, residents will try to create a call to action in Tuesday night’s Arroyo Grande city council meeting.