In the News

County supervisors allow affordable housing development in Cambria

Originally posted on New Times SLO

Cambria residents urged the SLO County Board of Supervisors to deny the appeal of an affordable housing project at supervisors' April 23 meeting.

During public comment, Cambria resident Susie Sigler said that having affordable housing in Cambria would be good for the greater community. She said restaurant and hotel workers, housekeepers, and assisted living workers could benefit from the project.

"I have a 99-year-old father and a 93-year-old mother; I could not take care of them if I did not have the help of people who provided services in my town to take care of me," Sigler said. "These are very important members of our community, and they deserve our respect and gratitude, and they deserve high-quality, affordable, and legal housing."

Cambria residents Mary Webb and Christine Heinrichs appealed the Jan. 10 SLO County Planning Commission's approval of Peoples' Self-Help Housing's request for a development plan and coastal development permit to build a 33-unit affordable housing project.

The coastal development permit will allow Peoples' Self-Help Housing to construct the eight-building apartment complex on Schoolhouse Lane, the same site as the nonprofit's existing 24-unit, multi-family Schoolhouse Lane Apartments.

The appeal focused on water availability concerns and related impacts to biological resources dependent on Cambria's water supplies, Santa Rosa and San Simeon creeks' aquifers. Webb and Heinrichs also raised concerns related to traffic safety and evacuation during an emergency such as a wildfire.

"Using a noble goal to place people in harm's way and further stress limited community resources is not a solution to anything," Heinrichs said.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously denied the appeal, and 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold said she knew for a fact that multiple families were living together in order to live affordably.

"I understand that water is an issue. I'm the chair of the fire safety council; I know fire is an issue ... but [we need to be] balancing it out because something has to be done about the availability of workforce housing up there," Arnold said.