Dear Editor, 

For years, nay decades, we have decried the lack of “affordable housing”. It’s been an issue on the Central Coast, as well as many other communities. Atascadero has taken the initiative to solve the problem.

On one side, you had developers, willing to build, who needed an easier path to build less expensive homes. They have been largely thwarted by permits, fees, and usage restrictions, that are locked into the dinosaur age of 1,800+ square foot homes, making it difficult to build smaller homes AND make a profit.

On another side, we have some people, who decry the problem, yet cling to the belief that everyone should have their own “space”, and that it’s better for the environment. I believe some of these thinkers would be the first ones to vote against putting 30 homes on a couple of acres, especially if it’s it in their neighborhood. As for the environment, if we live closer together and more central, products whose transportation alone causes great environmental damage can be more easily distributed, with less environmental concern.

Specifically, for Atascadero, we are trying to be a community who welcomes youth, jobs, and community. If we really want this, we may need to be more open to what the current working generations want for their life, and be willing to provide it. To some Millennials and Gen Z’ers that means affordable homes that they can live OUT of, not in. They are not tied to the bounds of green lawns and spacious backyard get-togethers. They need something comfortable where they can eat, sleep, work, and converse. Their lawn is the park. Their get-togethers are at public gathering places.

I write this because I was speaking with a local builder, who builds one or two homes at a time, and he was unaware of the incredibly forward thinking project in Atascadero called Grand Oaks Paseo. Grand Oaks, on El Camino Real, is on less than two acres and has 30 “micro homes”. We can’t let this project just finish out without everyone driving by to check out what affordable housing can look like and consider how beneficial it can be to Atascadero.

Particularly our city officials need to remind themselves what a great project this is and put on their thinking caps to create an official city environment that invites other innovative developers, like Cal Coastal Communities, to consider similar projects. 

To read more about this Atascadero Development, check out this article: Atascadero News Article-Grand Oaks Paseo

In case you might wonder, I have no association with the builders, and I am certain they have no clue who I am.

Rich Johnson, Atascadero

Getting through this together, Atascadero