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Pave paradise, put in a parking lot 

Neighbors from the historic district surrounding Mitchell Park in SLO have rallied under a single banner--Save Mitchell Park--to oppose a recommendation that 6,000 square feet of park be paved over to create more parking at the senior center. The group planned to attend a March 5 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission--an advisory body to the SLO City Council-- and let their collective discontent be known. According to the city master plan, the proposed parking lot is designated as a community garden, and thus requires an amendment approved by the City Council.

The group formed after November's meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission, during which the commission approved a recommendation to create about 15 new parking spaces.

Parks and Recreation Director Betsy Kiser said that she was not surprised by the negative public response, and said parking has been an issue at the site for decades. She said that the commission also plans to mitigate the loss by dedicating 6,000 square feet of land from another city plot for public use.

The Cultural Heritage Committee has already rejected the recommendation, and subsequently, the City Council has asked for an Environmental Impact Report. The issue will go before the Architectural Review Committee Apr. 7, before likely landing at the City Council in May.

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