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Neighbors express concerns over proposed apartments in Santa Maria

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Posted at 5:46 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 22:43:27-04

Thursday evening, the City of Santa Maria's Planning Commission invited neighbors to weigh in on the proposal for a 240 unit housing development on the northeast part of town.

But some longtime Santa Maria seniors we spoke to say they have seen the population of their city more than triple, giving them mixed feelings about the proposed Paradiso housing development on the corner of Main Street and Suey Road.

"I don't know how I feel about it. I am a little concerned about the traffic," admitted Sherry Grant, who has lived in Santa Maria for over 40 years.

"You used to not have a lot of people here and now it has just grown more and more and more," added fellow local senior June Emerson.

The City of Santa Maria says the proposed housing development would include 90 two-story duplex units and a 150-unit, three-story senior living complex.

"The concept was initially brought before the city council for their review and the direction from the city council was to work with the Planning Commission," said Chuen Ng, the Director for Community Development in Santa Maria.

He says roughly 20 people showed up to Thursday's feedback session, bringing up concerns including safety, a possible decrease in property value for surrounding homes, and general overcrowding.

While Sherry Grant was not one of the community members in attendance, she echoed similar sentiments.

"I know there is a need in Santa Maria for housing, especially for seniors and low-income families," she told KSBY. "However, the traffic in Santa Maria has gotten very congested [in] most places, so it is hard for us sometimes to even get out of our driveway."

June Emerson, meanwhile, says she will simply deal with overcrowding if it means solving the housing crisis.

"As the city grows bigger and bigger and more people are here, that is what is going to happen. We just got to get used to it," Emerson said.

Ng says the next steps are in the hands of Coastal Community Builders, the development group that presented the concept plan to the city council last month.

"They can certainly proceed and submit a formal application at their own risk, understanding that there are concerns from the neighborhood," Ng said.

The Santa Maria Planning Commission also says that the development does not include affordable housing options, but they say nobody brought that up as a concern during Thursday's feedback session.

If you missed Thursday's meeting but still want to provide feedback, the City of Santa Maria says you may email comments to falbro@cityofsantamaria.org.

We also reached out to Coastal Community Builders but did not hear back.