Letter to School Board – Jan Durocher, 2/7/14

Ryan Pinkerton
Assistant Superintendent
San Luis Coastal Unified School District

RE: Johnson Avenue Site

Dear Ryan,

It appears that you have been given the responsibility of developing the site adjacent to the Adult School to provide revenue for the District. I don’t envy you and am happily retired.

As you may recall, I was with Seattle School District before I worked with you at Lucia Mar. At that time SSD was facing revenue needs, as Districts always are, as well as decreasing enrollment. We were forced to close several sites. We sold some to developers, others had 99 year leases. The endeavor was quite successful. One site became a mixed use retail/lofts complex, one a medical office complex, several became attractive infill housing. I particularly remember the high end flats developed on a site with a fantastic view.

All of these developments received praise from their communities and enhanced their immediate neighborhoods. I know SLCUSD can do this too.

The Johnson site is a valuable and desirable piece of property. The neighborhood is just about within walking distance of downtown services, and certainly convenient. I live nearby. We love our neighborhood and would like to see it more hospitable to working families and seniors. Unfortunately, the disrepair and neglect of homes converted to “dorms” has a negative impact on this neighborhood and on San Luis in general. We do not feel that Cal Poly is treating us fairly by leaving their own real estate vacant and forcing students to double up in rentals here. This creates a housing imbalance and a community of transients.

Frankly, I was horrified that the District is considering adding to the problem with the development of thinly disguised dormitories. Regardless of whom the District visualizes as the target tenant, once a project houses students it is no longer attractive to any other demographic. Two bedroom apartments are student housing.

Seniors are seeking convenient single level living, young families are seeking homes with a little play space for their children, and yet we see the District’s current plan for this site primarily filling the role that Cal Poly can and should fill.

Please do some more revenue studies, Ryan. I realize and support the need for increased funding. Education has supreme importance. However, I really believe that selling off a dozen or so parcels for family homes could bring in quite a bit of cash. Yes, I am aware that the upfront costs of roadways and infrastructure are killers – but student housing? Please no.

Consider also some high end flats attractive to retirees. There are almost no condos available for seniors here at any price; they all have stairs unless one drives to outlying areas. The new flats on Marsh, (a noisy street and no parking) sold before the excavation was finished! There were only four of them. You could provide so many more.

Thanks for listening. I miss seeing your smiling face,

Jan Durocher
1415 Morro
San Luis Obispo

Cc  Board Members

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