New opportunities and revenue streams could be touching down near the Santa Maria Airport as the airport looks to develop.
“We have about 26 acres as a part of larger 224-acre business park plan that’s currently used for agriculture. It’s been open space for quite a while before that and that is the area we’re looking to re-zone from the community facilities designation that it currently has,” explained Chris Hastert, General Manager of the Santa Maria Public Airport District.
The land, located off Highway 135, Union Valley Parkway and Foster Road, was to be offered as the site for a new DMV, but that fell through in early 2018.
“So with a lack of potential people, we’re looking to maximize the zoning so we still could have public facilities in that section but we’re looking to expand the allowed uses to some light industry on the west side of it and some commercial on the east side of it and that will allow developing property that’s been sitting vacant since the 30s,” Hastert said.
The Skyway Center down the street from the airport had some stores open up a year-and-a-half ago.
Businesses in the new plaza, like That’s Fetch, say at first, people had trouble finding them in that location.
“A lot of times people were saying, ‘You’re located where??’ and even on Google Maps it’ll take them to a place closer to the YMCA,” said Linda Greco, owner of That’s Fetch.
Greco says adding more shops to the area could be good for them, as well.
“For myself, I’d like to see us have businesses up and running that are smaller size, a little bit different, unique, but we also have shopping centers that aren’t being fully utilized,” she said.
Some longtime Orcutt residents are wary that a new development could bring more traffic and change the small town feel.
“I think that a lot of us live in the area because we like being able to see fields, see things that you don’t see in cities like we have here in town. I think it would bring a lot of traffic and an influx of people that I don’t think we really need,” said Ashlyn Soriano.
Hastert says they’re still a few weeks away from submitting their proposal to the city for the zoning change.
If you’d like to weigh in on the topic, the airport board does have a public comment period during their meeting on Thursday.
RRM, a San Luis Obispo-based design group, has been hired to help create the plan for the new development. The airport says it’s very unlikely a big box store would move in.