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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 4th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 30

DJ Farms is still on the horizon

BY KRISTINA SEWELL

A 209-acre parcel of farmland at the intersection of Highway 166 and Highway 1—less than a mile from the heart of Guadalupe—still stands undeveloped.

But the land inches closer to breaking ground as Guadalupe city officials make final resolutions and adjustments to the project this month.

The DJ Farms project was first introduced to the City Council back in 1994 when the city annexed the land. However, due to changes in city staff, project developers, and an uncertain economy, the project has been stalled several times.

When the project was first introduced, it was expected to add 980 homes, 275,000 square feet of commercial space, a school site, and a park.

After witnessing more than 14 years of planning and changes, the Guadalupe City Council is finally honing in on its final approvals to the plan. On Sept. 26, council members approved two ordinances that modified zoning already in place on the property.

According to Guadalupe Mayor Lupe Alvarez, the council will continue to move the project forward at the Oct. 9 meeting, where members will be making an additional series of resolutions to the project.

The original DJ Farms project plan included the addition of new headquarters for the police and fire departments and a City Hall building.

However, Alvarez said that in May the council made the decision to refurbish the historic City Hall building on Obispo Street.

“It will cost $1.6 million to be fixed up and brought up to code,” he explained.

MKL Development, a Santa-Monica based company that bought the project in 2004, would also be in charge of refurbishing City Hall. The company is proposing that for every house sold in the development, MKL would contribute $2,000 from the sale.

“That means we would have to sell every home to get the $1.6 million,” Alvarez said.

He said that between now and Oct. 9, Guadalupe City Administrator Tim Ness and City Attorney David Fleishman are working to ratify the development agreement.

Over the course of its existence, the DJ Farms project has raised several concerns. According to Alvarez, those concerns have been addressed.

In 2007, the Sun reported that the project posed a potential threat to water and sewer capacity.

“There are no water issues, and we have enough capacity to build,” Alvarez said recently.

The project has also raised concerns about parking availability. Alvarez said the project has been scaled down to alleviate parking issues. Originally, DJ Farms was expected to create 980 primary residences and 126 secondary residences; the revised plan calls for 802 primary residences and 48 secondary residences.

The plan has also been modified to include 250,000 square feet of commercial space as opposed to the original 275,000 square feet. The project still includes 12.5 acres for the addition of a school.

Alvarez said the council will make final approvals and tweaks to the plan at the upcoming meeting.

“The economy has had its up and downs,” Alvarez said, “but I think City Council is moving in the right direction.”