The Architectural Review Commission

Hunter Smith Architecture has been busy developing plans for an expansion to the caretaker's quarters and manager's office at the Sunbeam Motel in San Luis Obispo. Last night, we presented the project proposal to the Architectural Review Commission (ARC), who forwarded their recommendation for project approval to the Community Development Director!


The Sunbeam Motel has been owned by the Hsu family for over thirty years. This project will allow three generations of their family to live on-site and manage the family business. It will also bring a facelift to the property on Upper Monterey Street.


Here is a photo that shows a rendering of the proposed project (above), and what is there now (below):

Now that the ARC has expressed their approval for this proposal, we are waiting for the Community Development Director's final approval. Once this is complete, we will be developing the construction documents necessary for a building permit and eventual construction.


Given last night's presentation, we thought this would be a good time to discuss some information about the Architectural Review Commission in the City of San Luis Obispo, and share some thoughts about public involvement in the development review process.


The ARC is tasked with establishing architectural guidelines within the City, and reviewing development proposals (including major remodels) for adherence to these guidelines. There are seven volunteer members of the commission, each of whom must live in the City of San Luis Obispo.


When City Staff determines that a project proposal requires approval from the ARC, they compile a Staff Report which details the elements of the proposed project that will require the Commission's review. These staff reports are then included on a meeting's agenda, which is available to the public for their review and comments.


Public comment on these agenda items is an important part of the review process. This is the opportunity for the neighborhood to have their concerns about, or support for, a project heard. The ARC takes these perspectives into consideration, and then makes recommendations to ensure that each project is its' best possible version and compliant with all applicable regulations.


Each project's approval process is entirely dependent on the particulars of that project. In addition to the ARC, there is the Planning Commission, the Cultural Heritage Commission, and various staff level reviews. Hunter Smith Architecture is here to help you navigate the public approval process. Reach out to us to discuss your idea for a project, and we can discuss the pathway to approval and construction.

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