Letter to School Board – Keith Smith, 2/3/14

February 3, 2014

 

Board of Directors
San Luis Coastal Unified School District
1500 Lizzie Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

RE: Agenda Item 9.09 Johnson Avenue Housing Project EIR

To the School Board:

I have read portions of the Johnson Avenue Housing Project EIR and will make comments to it at a later date, but I felt compelled at this time to write the Board about a more general issue regarding the subject project.

The Board has now spent around $400,000 in permit fees, studies, and contractor fees for the Johnson Avenue Housing Project.  I can’t imagine approval of the current 88 unit project, given the impacts identified and the opposition building against the project as shown by the response to the neighborhood meeting held by the Public Works Department last Thursday night, January 30, 2014 at the San Luis Obispo Adult School.  I anticipate that the Planning Commission will deny the project and then the current contractor that the Board has hired to move the project through the approval process will approach the Board for a revised (reduced but still high density) project.  This lengthy and costly process could go through multiple cycles.  This process may be appropriate for a developer risking his own money, but not appropriate for a public project spending our money that should be going towards educating our children.

I suggest that the Board stop this wasteful spending immediately.  The Board should revisit the needs of the school district to determine if the property is still considered an excess asset.  If the property is un-needed, possibly it could be traded for some property more useful to the district or sold outright without development studies.  A simple disposal of the property would allow the Board to focus on education without the distraction of real estate development.

I understand the desire and efforts by the Board to use the assets of the SLCUSD in the most efficient manner to maximize returns, but I feel that the Board has lost sight of the goals and is plodding down an inefficient and costly path.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Keith R. Smith
1638 Woodland Ct.
San Luis Obispo, CA  93401

One thought on “Letter to School Board – Keith Smith, 2/3/14

  1. Keith,

    I agree with the general premise of your letter, quit wasting our money. However, there are two points that I would like to comment. First, my understanding is that the school district does not want to sell the property because state law requires that for the sale of property such as this the proceeds go into the building fund, not the general revenue fund. It then would be not help to fund operating expenses. Second, selling or trading to a developer just transfers the process to another entity and I expect that the City would give the same direction of high density to the developer. We would still have the same problem.

    I think we should be suggesting that the school district go for the fast, easy to sell to the neighborhood project of SFR home development. The school district can still lease the property to a developer rather than sell it and it takes the property off the development market. That way the district gets an on-going revenue stream from the lease and the neighborhood gets a development that is consistent with the area.

    I would bet that we could rally support from the neighborhoods to help the school district get the city to approve it.

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