Letter to the School Board – Jed Hazeltine, 2/4/14

Eric Prater, Superintendent, eprater@slcusd.org
Jim Quesenberry, President, jquesenberry@slcusd .org
Ellen Sheffer, Clerk,  esheffer@slcusd .org
Mark Buchman, Trustee, mark@schoolyard.us
Kathryn Eisendrath-Rogers, Trustee, keisendrathrogers@slcusd.org
Walter Miller, Trustee, wmillar@sl cusd.org
Marilyn Rodger, Trustee,  mrodger@slcusd.org
Chris Unger, Trustee, cungar@sl cusd.org
cc: SLO City Council


Dear Superintendent and School Board Members:

I write in strong opposition to the proposed Johnson Avenue Multi-Family Housing project (“the Development”).

I live, with my wife and tlu·ee-year old son, on the corner of Fixlini Street and Ella Street. My parents moved to San Luis Obispo in 1971, when I was just a few years younger than my son. I have observed first-hand the deleterious effects of unbridled, ill-conceived planning.  Not just in the City of San Luis Obispo, but in nearly every community I have lived in – from Malibu and Woodland Hills to Los Gatos, San Jose and Reno, Nevada. Parking lots have replaced fields. Strip malls have displaced farm land. And, “multi-family housing” (AKA “apartment buildings”) has suffocated single-family homes and neighborhoods. For decades the City of San Luis Obispo has remained largely intact and immune from the pernicious effects of unchecked development. This will change if the Development proceeds.

Upon learning of the Development, my first reaction was to go on the war path ­ spearheading lawsuits, identifying the responsible parties and mounting recall elections. I know other residents feel the same way. But my hope is that this will not be necessary. My hope is that the responsible County and City officials will act upon all of the concerns raised by the residents in the areas of Buchon and Mitchell Park, Johnson A venue, San Luis Drive, Fixlini Tenace and Bowden Ranch (“the Affected Areas”). In doing so, I cannot imagine that the Development would be allowed to proceed.

My reasoning, however, in no way diminishes my antipathy towards the Development. I cannot speak for anyone other than my family, although I believe the overwhelming majority, if not all, of the residents in the Affected Areas are adamantly opposed to the Development. Let us call the Development for what it is. It represents the worst of man – it seeks to overwhelm and bury the residents of the Affected Areas for the sole purpose of filling the coffers of the School Board, enriching the County’s (and City’s) tax base and lining the developer ‘s pockets.

The mere idea of the Development is an abomination, and I cannot believe that our elected officials would ever entertain such a ghastly and ruinous proposal. I recently perused the School Board ‘s website, whereon there is colorful interactive dial under the rubric “Student Success Initiatives.” The dial displays the words “RELATIONSHIPS” and “culture of care”. To me, these words, in light of the Development, ring hollow. I believe the Development is nothing more than a “money grab,” and it is inconceivable to me that a School District would be involved in the development of real estate. I believe the School District should stick to teaching children.

The School District’s blase approach to the Development is particularly galling. The Development is located on 4.3 hillside acres and consists of 14 one-bedroom “units” and 74 two-bedroom “units”. Assuming one person lives in each bedroom, then 162 people would move into the west or lower end of Fixlini Street. If each person had one vehicle, then 162 vehicles would pour into the neighborhood daily. The Development, however, is akin to a large college dormitory, not unlike the dorm buildings located on the campus of Cal Poly. In fact, it is reasonable to assume that multiple college students would live in many of the “units.” Thus, the number of people and vehicles moving in and out of the area would likely be much greater. The numbers would further increase if guests are taken into consideration.

The School Board’s website provides aerial photographs and diagrams for viewing. The photographs and diagrams reveal the sheer enormity of the Development and how preposterous the development is. The Development would be shoe-horned into a small sliver of land and require rezoning from R-2 to R-4. This would be the only R-4 zoning in the Affected Area. My general objections to the Development are as follows:

1. Why did the Development morph from a proposal to build single family homes into an apartment building consisting of 14 one-bedroom and 74 two-bedroom apartments?

2. The Development does not appear to be in conformity with the City’s General Plan.

3. How can the Affected Areas possibly be expected to handle the surge in vehicle traffic?

4. The increase of traffic on Lizzie and Fixlini Streets will be unbearable and forever alter the character of the Affected Areas.

5. There is only one point of ingress and egress, and hundreds of people and vehicles will spill out onto Johnson, Fixlini and Iris streets.

6. Are there any other alternatives that the County has (or will) consider?

7. What is the County’s purpose in proposing and/or building the Development?

8. How much does the County stand to gain from the Development? And what happens to the proceeds?

9. Is it advisable to build the Development adjacent to the high school and in the immediate vicinity of French Hospital?

10. How will emergency vehicles gain easy access to the Development? And will the Development impede emergency access to the Affected Areas?

11. How does the Development comport with the philosophies, Goals and Objectives of the School Board?

12. What is the relationship between the County and the School Board and its members with the developer(s)?

13. The Development violates Education Code section 17387 and ensures community conflict.

I expect that I will have many more questions as I digest the limited information that is available. It is my sincere hope that the County, the Board and the residents of the Affected Areas can resolve this matter before things escalate.

Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,

Jed D. Hazeltine


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