The Templeton Advisory Group (TAAG) passed a motion to approve the Sphere Partners Inc. project located at 221 North Main Street. The proposed commercial mixed-use development includes three buildings, one restaurant space and two with ground floor retail spaces and second-floor office spaces. TAAG originally tabled the item, recommending the project for approval in response to the large number of people who attended the meeting to comment and question the development. The delay allowed the committee and residents to gather more information about the project and give the developers ample time to address concerns brought forth by citizens. TAAG does not have the power to approve or deny developments, but can only send recommendations to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors which takes them into consideration.
Sphere Chief Operating Officer, Marty Mohamed, responded to questions put forth by meeting attendees and the board. He told the group that the company has worked with the County to create a project that “encompassed the Templeton design guidelines.” A majority of the worries voiced by residents was the risk of light pollution. Cars pulling into the lot would shine their lights into the surrounding homes. Sphere explained that their design would block light from cars with a gentle land grade as well as a hedge at the back of the property.
Where to draw the line?
Board Member, Murray Powell, opened a discussion concerning the boundary limits of TAAG’s and the possibility of broadening the organization’s advisory reach. Currently, TAAG’s boundary line mimics the Templeton School District’s. However, there are areas outside of TAAG’s influence that still affect Templeton. Powel stated a need not only in Templeton but throughout the County for Citizen Advisory Councils.
“The concern is that the majority of the whole county is not governed by a CAC,” Powell said. “Basically what is happening it that there are projects that sail through planning and the County with approval where there is really no public representation.”
Board member Joel Woodruff suggested that the group could use both the postal zip code and the school district’s boundary to produce an accumulative section under TAAG. Templeton resident Gwen Pelfrey informed the board that the school district boundaries were first chosen because it represented a group of people that held a common interest.
The County’s CAC liaison for TAAG, Kate Shea, “strongly” recommended to TAAG speak with the county board of supervisors representatives before making any decisions.