The Santa Maria Times' reporter Chris Aguilar attended the Nipomo Chamber of Commerce's luncheon yesterday. This morning's Times reports on these developments:
Ted Moore, president of E.F. Moore & Company in Ojai, plans to build a retail village on Tefft Street in Nipomo that will feature a Starbuck's and a Wells Fargo Bank, as well as outdoor dining and other retail ventures. The construction, he said Wednesday, will begin this summer. However, he said, he has not been told when Caltrans expects to begin work on new Highway 101 interchanges at Hill Street and Willow Road.
Traffic was also on the mind Wednesday of area developer David Watson of King Ventures, who plans to begin construction by this summer on a 10.5-acre development on Hill Street south of Tefft Street. It will feature 75,000 square feet of retail space and 79 residences, 21 of which will be dedicated to affordable housing.
“The county's plan is targeting the year 2010 as to when they will have the new on- and off-ramps in,” Watson said. “I think we can accelerate that a bit.”
Increasingly, public improvements are being built with private money that is later refunded to developers. Such arrangements are often required by government bodies before they will approve a development that is expected to generate significant traffic.
“We are going to do the improvements on Mary and Hill Streets, which will move traffic off Tefft. Diverting traffic will give people an alternative to Tefft Street and reduce traffic,” Watson said.
“The on-ramp construction is about two or three years behind this project and traffic's not going to get better, but this bypass will be interim measure so there won't be any added traffic,” Watson said.
“This is a significant step, but it's not going to solve the traffic problem.”
This is good news about the traffic, at least as it concerns no anticipated increase in the traffic that already plagues Nipomo. There are mornings on Tefft Street, when I cannot even turn into my building, several hundred feet away from the Tefft Street/Mary Intersection because traffic is backed up well beyond my office building. It sounds as though any significant relief won't be available to us in Nipomo for several years, when the new onramp to southbound 101 is completed. As the projects begin and ground breaks, I intend to post photos to document the progress.