Paso Robles News|Sunday, April 2, 2023
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Atascadero approves new housing and retail on Principal Ave. 

Atascadero City Council this week approved a mixed residential and retail project on Principal Avenue after adding several conditions. The project includes 20 single-family residences; 12 duplex units; five second-floor residential units above potential retail space; 3,215 square feet of first-floor commercial space; and a 1,945-square-foot car wash on a 12,495 square-foot lot.

Project developers said they would like to develop the entire area of land simultaneously, but some council members voiced concern over promised retail space that may never see the light of day. Those concerns were based on past experiences with mixed-use projects, such as the Dove Creek residential area that had initially promised to be accompanied by revenue-generating retail.

Developers agreed to construct the carwash before the residential space and intended to have the entire project constructed within months.

Project applicant Carol Florence said it is the developers’ intentions to work closely with the city.

“We will certainly work with the Public Works Department for red curbing or anything else,” Florence said. “There is no real phasing plan. Our intent … is to move straight into design and development … Once we’re in, we’re going to build it all.”

A second concern involved noise output from the proposed car wash. Investigators identified that the noise output from the car wash would be too high for residential areas, so that issue now includes mitigation. Noise comes primarily from the car wash blowers, the applicant said, so the blowers will be relocated to a point deeper inside the car wash.

The third concern came in the form of public safety on the street. When big-rig trucks, buses and RVs park in some areas of the neighborhood, they block other drivers’ visibility, Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi said. She asked city staff to look into options for keeping visibility open.

In the end, the project gained unanimous council approval with three conditions. The first asks that city staff investigate the need for red curbs at key corners; vehicle height and weight restrictions for parking, and no-parking signs in the interest of public street safety. The second will look at the location of an RTA bus stop that, when buses are parked, may block driver vision; and the third was that the Car Wash be constructed first and with low noise output.

“I think it’s a very nice project,” said Councilman Bob Kelley who moved to accept the project as proposed. Councilman Brian Sturtevant seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.

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