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The following article was posted on February 19th, 2014, in the New Times - Volume 28, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 28, Issue 30

SLO schedules a town hall on the Cal Poly dorm project

BY COLIN RIGLEY

San Luis Obispo city officials will hold a town hall meeting to discuss options with residents who oppose the construction of a new dorm on the Cal Poly campus.

As proposed, the new dorm would house more than 1,400 students in structures ranging from four to five stories. The project would sit on existing parking structures at Grand Avenue and Slack Street; the proposed placement has prompted residents in the surrounding neighborhoods to raise concerns ranging from traffic and safety issues to a more general fear that their corner of SLO will soon resemble the notorious party town of Isla Vista.

At the Feb. 18 SLO City Council meeting, a few residents spoke out against the project, including Rebecca Keisler, who said she had a petition with 60 signatures.

“The process of studentification in the city of San Luis Obispo is a problem,” she told councilmembers.

City officials, however, have precisely zero jurisdiction over the project. Still, in order to respond to growing resident concerns, city councilmembers agreed to hold a town hall meeting. As of press time, that meeting hadn’t been formally scheduled, but city officials said it would take place before the end of next month, most likely on a Saturday in early March.

Speaking to New Times after the Feb. 18 meeting, Councilman John Ashbaugh said he hopes the city, concerned residents, and Cal Poly officials can reach an agreement that continues to preserve the relationship between the city and university. Ashbaugh said he believes Cal Poly has stayed true to a previous commitment to house more students on campus.

“The perceptions of student behavior do not represent the vast majority of Cal Poly students,” Ashbaugh said.

Councilman Dan Carpenter said he would like to advocate for neighbors, but admitted the city has little jurisdiction to affect Cal Poly’s decision.

“Student success to me means not only achieving academic standards, but also success with your neighbors and being able to be a productive part of the community, and part of that is just being a good neighbor, and I’m not sure that’s Cal Poly’s top priority,” Carpenter told New Times.

On Feb. 14, the university announced it would recirculate the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report and extend the public comment period through March 31. In a press release, university officials said they had considered more than a half-dozen possible sites for the project, but ultimately determined that the proposed site is the best location.

The university is scheduled to present the project to the California State University Board of Trustees in May, with construction scheduled to begin in 2015.