Mar 6, 2013 12:25 AM by April Hansen, KSBY News

City looks to revitalize section of SLO

San Luis Obispo city planners are hoping to revitalize a section of the city just south of downtown called the South Broad Street Area Plan.

It includes the Broad Street corridor from South Street to Orcutt Road and would rezone the area from manufacturing to mixed use with retail and residential development, but some business owners are worried their shops may suffer.

"It works well the way it is, so why change it?" said Russ Kimmell, owner of San Luis Powerhouse.

For more than 30 years, Kimmell has run his business at this spot on the corner of Victoria and Francis, but this community's future may be changing.

"We don't feel this zoning is going to help our businesses operate. In fact, it will probably make it almost impossible," said Kimmell.

San Luis Obispo city planners say this 20-year Broad Street vision has three elements:.
1. Improve broad street traffic.
2. Rezone to blend current manufacturing businesses with retail and restaurants.
3. Build more residential opportunities.

"Let's just say across the street a coffee shop restaurant opened up. Well how long before the owners of that are going to say we don't want you to be running a diesel engine when we are open selling coffee," said Kimmell.

But across the street at Rizzoli's Automotive, owner Jim Rizzoli says it may be a positive identity change for this area of town.

"You have to have a road map to where you're going," said Rizzoli.

Rizzoli says it's a future project he believes will make the Broad Street corridor more inviting and bring in new and more business.

"It gives us more diversity," said Rizzoli.

Existing businesses would not be affected if this area is rezoned to mixed use, but any new, large manufacturing business would not be allowed to build there.

After about three hours of discussion at Tuesday night's San Luis Obispo City Council meeting, council members decided to continue the discussion to a future meeting.



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