Construction on the outskirts

Oak Ridge Estates road work winding down

ATASCADERO — Residents in a part of incorporated Atascadero to the west known as Paradise Valley may be getting some relief as road construction projects in the area wind down in September.

In the planning for over 20 years and using drafts last approved in 2014, work began last year on connecting roads for the Oak Ridge Estates, a development of expensive  — what else — estates, on modified lots first laid out at the City’s founding but undeveloped until infrastructure is complete.

Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore noted that, due to their remote location from the rest of the City the homes would likely be the only place in town with an ocean view. The project has four phases of development and had reached their buildout limit without filling in alternate access roads, he said.

While rural, the development is nevertheless part of town and there’s been impacts on their neighbors, prompting Joyce Zimmerman, the widow of a former Planning Commissioner to go looking for answers.

“For over a year my neighbors and I have been bombarded by daily  — except on weekends — noise and dust from the construction of a road that will supposedly connect new homes — Oak Ridge Estates — being  built on the hilltops to Cenegal and Laurel roads below,” she wrote to the Atascadero News, explaining that outreach to the developers and the city had so far been ineffective.

Zimmerman later added she was upset more than anything by the perceived disrespect shown to elderly residents whose properties placed them at the receiving end of echoes up the valley and wind blown dust, which she worried could disperse Valley Fever.

As of presstime, representatives for Castle Rock development did not return requests for comment, but the City did have a notice of road construction circulated in early August.

Affecting Cenegal, Laurel, and Santa Lucia roads, Castlerock Development is hauling base material starting the week of Aug. 19 from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. continuing through the following two weeks.

Residents in the area were asked to look out for the trucks.

That would put the completion of the lower Cenegal Road connection through Oak Ridge at the start of September. But, as Dunsmore added, “the fact is it is a big project,” he a said with some emphasis, “we don’t like to give exact end dates, what’s happening now are the are the heavy trucks laying down the road base. When that’s done noise will reduce substantially.”

As for Zimmerman and her neighbors’ complaints, Dunsmore said he had been able to meet with her, and he wasn’t unsympathetic, it appears he added that her property was in a unique position to be impacted. It’s just that there was very little the City could do at this point to mitigate a project with impact reports approved so long ago.

“We never put time limits on something once it’s approved,” or for that matter, revoke permission for a project, he said. “Things [like losing funding] happen all the time. Someone can spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing a plan with us then never act on it. That happens more than you know.”

He added that developers like to wrap up projects before the rainy season, slated for October.


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