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Student housing sparks controversy


The construction of Academy Chorro may cause potential parking and scenery issues in the community.
Photo by Alexander Bissell / Cuestonian

By Holly Walsh
Opinion Editor

Project Academy Chorro, a new student housing development, available for both Cal Poly and Cuesta students, has created controversy amongst locals concerned with 40 percent parking reduction.

The project comes at a time when there is a housing crisis in San Luis Obispo. Even though it will provide 96 people with a place to live, local residents are worried about the parking reduction and the blocking of scenery.

The housing development is currently under construction on Foothill Boulevard and Chorro Street and has ruffled feathers amongst some locals.

Lydia Mourenza and Richard Racouillat filed an appeal opposing the project on 22 Chorro Street. The SLO City Council unanimously voted to reject the appeal. Construction is now underway.

Academy Chorro offers limited parking to residents but encourages the use of bicycling.

A local resident responded stating that University Square shopping center parking will only get worse, “On several recent occasions after circling the parking lot looking for a place to park so I could shop at Lassens, I gave up and went elsewhere,” Carol Winger said.

“I have written off this area for any future shopping,” says Winger, “22 Chorro with its lack of sufficient on site parking will only exacerbate the problem. I can’t imagine that the businesses at University Square are happy with that prospect.”

The project has a total of 33 parking spaces, an approved 40 percent reduction from the required 55 spaces. It is expected that students will have to scour the neighborhoods surrounding to find a place to park, according to protesters.

City Council member, Aaron Gomez, said the council decided to reject the appeal because there was no demonstration of the project impacting public safety.

“The project will be beneficial, there is a housing shortage across the board for every population: students, families, and retirees, said Gomez, “every housing project able to fill the void is helpful.”

One resident lashed out against the development.

“The project is unacceptable in every possible way and would be an insulting assault to our Northern San Luis Obispo neighborhoods as well as degrading the entire city of San Luis Obispo,” Cheryl McLean said, in a letter to City Council also posted on its site.

Students continue to struggle each year to find housing and some are hopeful that the new Academy Chorro will relieve some of that stress.

“It definitely sucks that each year I have to panic about where I am going to start a new lease because either roommates moved out or I hated where I lived, it’s evident SLO needs more housing options,” said Cuesta student Toni Walsh.

The new student apartments are applicable to both Cuesta and Cal Poly students. Also available to residents of Academy Chorro are elevators, a coffee bar, and a retail area.

Apartments are now available for lease even though the project is still under construction and won’t be available for move in until the fall 2018 school year.

Alexa Mccardell, a representative of Academy Chorro, says the leases are expected to be at full capacity by February or sooner, and that 96 people will fill the complex.

“Having a car isn’t necessary because students are living so close to campus,” says Mccardell in response to the parking reduction.

Academy Chorro offers a fitness studio, clubroom with billiards, open courtyards, roof-terrace, and even a bike shop.