Janice Peters - Contributed Content

October 7, 2004:

Hi, Mike,
Would you please add this to the campaign website? There seems to be a lot of concern about my vote on this issue and I'd like to get the explanation out there. Thank you!


Since I opposed the Harbor View project, apparently it was expected that I would also oppose the new housing development project at the intersection of Quintana and Main St. In fact, when first presented to the Council, the project was rejected on a unanimous vote.

This is a difficult property to develop for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its location at the intersection of two heavily traveled streets. It is zoned for mixed use, combining residential and commercial space. However, commercial uses and the resulting traffic generated would create major impacts on this intersection, as well as at the Radcliffe/Main St. intersection. Residential units would have a lesser impact.

In casting my no vote for the project originally, I listed the items I felt made the project inappropriate for the location: the number of secondary units (8), the size of the secondary units (1500 sq. ft.); the "office" in the secondary units (really a second bedroom); the lack of guest parking (3 spaces); and the minimal parking in general. Public comments at that meeting also indicated concern about the decks on the rear units being too close to the property lines of homes on Morro Ave.

Instead of giving up or getting angry and filing suit, the property owners took the comments from the Council and the public into consideration, went back to the drawing board, and returned with a revised project. They eliminated two secondary units; reduced the size of the secondary units to 850-950 sq. ft.; moved the second bedroom/offices, reduced the size and left one wall open, thereby making them appropriate office space; added three more guest parking spaces; configured more tandem parking spaces; and removed all the rear unit decks.

Given that the property owners had listened to and acted on the public and Council suggestions to make their project more appropriate, I voted to approve the project. As it happened, I cast the decisive vote on the matter, and knew as I did it that some of my campaign supporters would be upset. I voted based on my integrity, and I stand by my decision.

Morro Bay is facing some very difficult housing decisions that will forever affect our future. We need to publicly review our zoning ordinance to be sure it provides for density in areas that can handle density. We need to decide where we can and want to build affordable rental units. And we have to work with the property owners to develop projects that are appropriate for their location.

In my view, the Quintana/Main St. project is a perfect example of this kind of cooperation and result. The applicants listened to reasonable suggestions and concerns and made adjustments. The ultimate project provides single-family homes and six fairly small (and therefore, hopefully affordable) rental units within walking distance of downtown and shopping areas.

This project is also an example of how I conduct myself as a Council member, voting for what I honestly believe is the right and best thing for Morro Bay, despite any potentially unpleasant consequences for me personally.

As your Mayor, I would continue to vote my integrity.


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