Bike lanes and rent protections for mobile home parks were among the issues raised by residents during a Tuesday night town hall in northwest Santa Maria.

Held at Santa Maria Foursquare Church, the meeting drew about 30 residents from the city’s northwest quadrant.

The meeting began with remarks from Mayor Alice Patino, who spoke about the importance of a complete count in the 2020 census for federal funds, touted new business development and thanked residents for the passage of Measure U.

“We anticipate to raise an estimated $19.3 million annually for our community (from Measure U),” she said. “Those funds will maintain and enhance city services to fulfill the intent that all of you in Santa Maria voted for.”

Patino noted Krispy Kreme was scheduled to open this fall in the Crossroads development and a Hamptons Inn and Wendy’s are being constructed on the north side of Santa Maria, near Broadway and Preisker Lane.

“It’s a 100-room Hampton Inn and we’ve needed another nice hotel, especially on this side of town,” she said.

After Patino’s remarks, meeting participants left the church auditorium and moved into a smaller room where city department heads listened to comments and fielded questions.

Becky Deutsch, a resident of northwest Santa Maria for 43 years, said she wanted to encourage city officials to make cycling easier for community members.

“We have a tremendous traffic problem here,” she said. “We have a beautiful community with lovely weather and flat terrain. I’d really like to see protected bike lanes, especially for children to get to school. We have that opportunity because we have such wide lanes.”

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Frank Thompson, a resident of Rancho Buena Vista mobile home park, said he was there to ask city officials to move forward with implementing rent protections for the city’s mobile home parks.

“We’re trying to get the issue of rent stabilization to the forefront,” he said. “I’ve been living in that park 16 years. When I moved in there, my rent was $454 a month. My rent as of Jan. 1 will be $803 a month.”

Thompson was among 10 mobile home residents at the meeting who were there to urge city officials to develop rent protections that would more closely tie rent increases to the annual Social Security cost-of-living-adjustment.

One woman, who declined to give her name, said she felt the city had largely neglected the northern side of town.

“We have really bad sidewalks — it’s hard for people in wheelchairs to get around,” she said. “There’s also a lot of drug activity. It shows that this area is neglected by the city. It’s not taken care of.”

Tuesday night’s meeting was the second neighborhood town hall hosted by Patino and other city department heads in recent months.

In August, a meeting was held to hear concerns from northeast Santa Maria residents.

City officials say similar meetings for both quadrants of the southern side of the city would be scheduled in the future.

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Razi Syed covers Santa Maria City Government for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.  Follow him on Twitter @razisyed


City Government

Razi Syed covers city government for the Santa Maria Times. He is a graduate of Fresno State University and New York University.