A vacant lot in Arroyo Grande could be the next site for dozens of affordable housing units.
On a nearly two-acre plot near the corner of Oak Park Blvd and El Camino Real, The Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo (HASLO) is proposing to build three, 3-story buildings with a total of 65 affordable housing units.
HASLO plans to rent out all of the units to low-income individuals and families.
Half of it is vacant and the remaining buildings with non-operational businesses will be demolished if the plan is approved.
Low-income housing close to businesses is needed in this area but some say it could cause parking and traffic congestion.
“I think the city really has an opportunity to hit a home run with this project,” Sam Oakley, who lives near the project site, said.
Oakley is excited housing will replace this eyesore that he can see from his driveway on Chilton Ave.
“We have a big open space here and it would be nice to have something look good,” he said.
The mixed-use project consists of 65 affordable multi-family residential units, a 1,324 square foot community room, and nearly 1,178 square feet of commercial space.
“The need is the greatest for one-bedroom apartments for whatever reason that seems to be in the shortest supply. The other half are two and three-bedroom apartments as well,” Scott Smith, the Executive Director of HASLO, said.
30% of your income is considered "affordable" and affordability is targeted towards people earning 80% of the median income or less.
According to the U.S. Census, in 2018, the median household income in Arroyo Grande was $80,615.
“For a one-bedroom apartment that might be $500 a month, something like that and for a three-bedroom it might be $1,000 a month,” Smith said.
The units would be close to grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses, but neighbors are concerned about the scale of the project.
“We want our new neighbors to feel like they belong in the neighborhood and are not just in a big hive,” Oakley said.
Under state law, parking and height requirements could be waived because the high-density project provides 100% of the units to lower-income households.
As of right now, 87 parking spaces are proposed.
“There's not enough parking. As part of the density bonus, they are going to omit parking for 65 units, there will be quite few cars and drivers,” Oakley said.
When the Arroyo Grande city council first reviewed the project, they emphasized pedestrian and bicyclist safety and emergency access.
The slope of the landscape and existing oak trees are some challenges developers are still facing.
The City of Arroyo Grande and all California cities have affordable housing requirements to meet and this project would make a huge dent.
The Arroyo Grande Architectural Review Committee looked over the project on Monday.
Next, it heads to the planning commission in May.