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Palm Nipomo Parking Structure

On January 3, 2012 the City Council will hold a study session to discuss the Palm Nipomo parking structure project.

The purpose of the study session is to seek direction regarding the project. Staff had originally anticipated the adoption of the Mitigated Negative Declaration as part of the project approvals, however the environmental studies recently undertaken to evaluate the project’s potential impact on the environment have identified that the level of CEQA review will need to be greater if the project removes the residences at 610 and 614 Monterey as envisioned to allow for the future development of the Little Theater or other cultural facility (see attached preliminary design plan). Specifically, the cultural resources sub-consultant has determined that demolition of the two City owned residences would cause a substantial diminishment of the integrity of the Downtown Historic District and would be considered a significant adverse impact. Development under this scenario would require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Council adoption of a Statement of Overriding Considerations. Relocation was considered by the design team, but dismissed as infeasible for the 614 Monterey Depression –era adobe.

Staff will be recommending that the City proceed with the preparation of an EIR to address the cultural resource issue. While the EIR would focus on the specific issue of concern, other potential issues such as noise, aesthetics, air quality, hydrology, and traffic would also be addressed.

Alternatives the Council may consider include:

1. Retaining the two residences. Such a redesign may also require the preparation of an EIR to address the visual impacts because the single story residences provide less of a visual screen than a multi-story structure (ie. the Little Theater).

2. Revising the project to mitigate potential impacts. A shorter and smaller scale structure would cost more per parking space to construct and maintain and would not meet the City’s 400 parking space goal

3. Deferring the project. It will take a minimum of 5 years before the parking structure could be available for use so staff recommends moving forward with the project design/construction documents and have plans in place to construct when Council determines the time is right.

The staff report for the study session will be posted on the City’s web site a week before the meeting. If you have any questions, please contact Peggy Mandeville at Thank you.



 The Palm Nipomo parking structure project was established by the City Council as an “other” major City goal with the adoption of the 2003-05 Financial Plan.  The Council has met on several occasions to discuss the site and designs for a structure at the southeast corner of Palm and Nipomo Streets.  At its April 24, 2007 meeting the Council identified Site Plan Option D3 as the preferred design to move forward.

At its March 17, 2009 meeting the Council reviewed a financial analysis of the Parking Fund and unanimously approved moving forward with the next steps of architectural design and environmental review.

Project Goals

  • Provide a minimum of 400 parking spaces.

  • Be creative, but mindful of costs.

  • Design an aesthetically pleasing structure that fits into the downtown and neighborhood.

  • Consider contextual sensitivity of surrounding properties (i.e. Lattimer-Hayes adobe).

  • Consider City codes such as setback and height.

  • Consider City's agreement with the SLO Little Theater to develop a community theater on a portion of the site and the Physical Concept Plan for the Downtown that identified cultural uses in addition to parking on the site.

  • Provide the structure's main entry on the street that the traffic analysis determines will provide the most direct access and provide secondary access on other street. Provide no vehicle access to Monterey Street.

  • Consider incorporating other appropriate uses on the site.

  • Design to accommodate other uses on Monterey Street in front of the structure and provide a direct pedestrian connection from the structure to Monterey Street.

  • Make an effort to preserve the large oak tree.

  • Incorporate green technologies into the structure.

  • Design and construct the project within budget.

Current Effort

In July, 2010 the City of San Luis Obispo has hired Watry Design, Inc. to assist the City in designing a user friendly public parking structure on the City owned property at the edge of the central business district.  The consultant is responsible for the work necessary to develop a final design within the project goals identified above and consistent with the Preferred Site Plan D3.  The consultant’s first few efforts include establishing a stakeholders’ group that will provide input throughout the process and facilitating a community workshop scheduled for October 20 to introduce the project to the community.

Project Schedule


  • Data collection

  • Begin site analysis and environmental review

  • Establish stakeholders’ group

  • First Community Workshop Oct. 20


  • Begin design utilizing community input

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