June 7 Planning Commission

The Santa Maria Planning Commission discussed new building projects on Wednesday at Santa Maria City Hall. 

The Santa Maria Planning Commission approved plans for a new office complex and a retail center Wednesday night.

Enos Ranch developers, NKT Commercial, will soon embark on the new project with an ambitious schedule on property just west of the Santa Maria Public Airport.

On a seven acre parcel on Airpark Drive in Santa Maria’s southwest quadrant, NKT will build two 25,600-square-foot-two-story office buildings it plans to have completed by December.

“It will be a very compressed and tough schedule,” said Nick Tompkins, with NKT Commercial.

The schedule is so compressed, Tompkins said, to accommodate the schedule of tenants already secured for the professional buildings, which include health software company MINDBODY and Opio, an agricultural firm.

“The proposed two-story buildings will be prefabricated metal buildings. A clean and contemporary architectural style is used with emphasis of materials and colors at the building entrances. Overall, staff supports the proposed design, but if the site was on a more heavily traveled street with greater visibility, staff would have recommended additional enhancements,” Santa Maria Community Development Department Director Chuen Ng told the commissioners.

Not all of the planned professional space has been spoken for Tompkins said, but he believes the space could attract additional jobs to Santa Maria.

Historically, development in the area by the airport and south of Skyway Drive has run into roadblocks in the form of endangered and protected species such as the California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander.

“To date, no protected species have been observed in this narrow area. A pre-construction biological survey will be performed for all potential species that could possibly be present,” Ng said in his report to the Commission.

The project was approved on a 4-0 vote - Commissioner Maribel Hernandez had to recuse herself as she works with the developer.

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The Planning Commission also unanimously approved plans for a new building on Enos Drive near the city’s Broadway business corridor in the Stowell Center Plaza.

“The proposal consists of a 3,250-square-foot commercial building intended for retail uses,” said Frank Albro, city planner.

The building will be built on a vacant lot next to El Toro Restaurant.

The property’s owner, Dhagash Joshi, plans to build a single-story building with space for three tenants. Joshi hopes to attract at least one medical office to his planned building.

In other Planning Commission business, an 8.4 acre vacant lot on the corner of Battles Road and Depot Street will remain empty for the time being. Developers had once planned to build 112 townhomes on the property, but according to Community Development Department officials, those plans have been abandoned.

The Commission also voted to revoke dormant permissions granted more than 10 years ago due to the project's inactivity.

Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.

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