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Santa Maria Council Approves Permit for New Hancock Apartment Complex

The Towbes Group plans to build 262 units on East Boone Street, with construction beginning by the end of the year

The Santa Maria City Council cleared a path toward construction of a new apartment complex Tuesday by approving a permit for The Towbes Group, which has preliminary plans to build 262 units on East Boone Street.

The council voted 5-0 at Tuesday’s regular meeting to approve a Downtown Specific Plan Development review permit for the Hancock Terrace Apartment project — designed to serve as workforce and student housing near Allan Hancock College at 530 E. Boone St.

City Manager Rick Haydon said the council action comes a year after members gave the initial go-ahead for the project, which required modifying a portion of the city’s Downtown Specific Plan.

Towbes Group officials hope to begin construction by the end of the year, with tenants moving into the units the following year.

Council members considered a pre-application from The Towbes Group last summer and directed staff to modify the downtown plan so the high-density residential project would not have to include any commercial or retail component.

The Downtown Specific Plan was approved in 2008 to re-establish downtown Santa Maria as a “destination” and gathering place at the heart of the city.

The 9.53-acre property on East Boone Street is located near the City Transit Center and within the plan’s Railroad Loft District, which was originally designed for mixed use. The project area has some undeveloped areas, with a majority of space occupied by industrial and business uses, including trucking, warehousing, and the Santa Maria Tire service center and headquarters.

The Towbes Group has proposed building four three-story buildings on the property, along with pedestrian/bicycle improvements, parking, a swimming pool, a community center, and outdoor play and seating areas.

Staff recommended approval of the project Tuesday as a way to revitalize the area and better connect the downtown with Hancock College.

Haydon said council approval will send the plans back to The Towbes Group and the City Planning Commission for further review and direction.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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