Mayor Moreno expressed support of the Printery project and the hope to hear more

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14. The Council’s closed meeting preceded it.

The agenda for the night’s proceedings and the consent calendar were approved unanimously.

The night’s Community Forum was full of Atascadero locals on the Atascadero Printery Board. The historic Printery building is currently being renovated into a venue for the performing arts, a printing museum, and other spaces for community use.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

“Our group [Questers] chose to support the Printery in early 2020. We saw the potential in this beautiful building and shared it at our state council meeting in March of that year. Just got right in there before the pandemic hit. The members recognize that this historically important building should be preserved and unanimously voted to support the Printery as their California Quester’s State Project. Our first project is the restoration of the front copper-clad doors and transoms. We’re very excited to be contributing to the preservation of this building. We’d like to ask the city to recognize that this building played a huge part in the creation of Atascadero and will play a huge part in the future in attracting heritage tourism and enhancing the lives and economic vitality of our community,” said community member Sheila New, who is on the Printery Board.

The Printery building is currently going through plans for its strengthening and hazardous material studies which have been turned into the city. The first step, shoring [which holds the building up before strengthening it], has already been completed.

The Council was asked to put the Printery on a future agenda to see if the City of Atascadero could be added to the list of those supporting the restoration project.

“There are a lot of good and important things going on in Atascadero, and as several of you mentioned, a lot of things get done because people come together. And while as a city we have always supported the Printery, The Friends of The Printery, and the Foundation pulling everything together, I will say that I’m so glad that you could connect with Senator Laird, Assemblyman Cunningham, and Congressman Carbajal because they are the ones that have the funding. They have the kinds of means that we as a city don’t have,” said Mayor Heather Moreno.

In response to putting the Printery on the agenda, Moreno said, “just because we’re not focused on the Printery doesn’t mean that we don’t think it’s really important. It’s that not every important thing can make it onto the agenda.” Moreno went on to say that the Council would love to hear more from the group, to see how they can support them even if they are not put on the agenda.

The meeting then moved on to the Public Hearings portion of the evening. The first item on the agenda was the distribution of the 2022 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). A presentation was given by the Director of Public Works, Nick DeBar.

The CDBG are annual grants that must meet three criteria. 1; that it’s a benefit to lower and moderate-income persons. 2; aiding in the elimination of plight. 3; they address urgent needs that pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of our community.

The estimated amount this year is $139,465 for the city of Atascadero.

The applicants for the grants then spoke to the Council, addressing their applications for the CDBG grants.

As of now, the Council will be giving CDBG grants to the following:

City of Atascadero [for the Santa Rosa Project] – $90,652
City of Atascadero [Youth Activity Scholarships] – $10,752
El Camino Homeless Organization [ECHO] – $8,524
5 Cities Homeless Coalition – $1,644

And $27,893 going to Administration.

Final recommendations by the Council will be given in March of 2022.

The Council then moved on to an Urgency Ordinance Adopting Interim Standards for the Implementation of Senate Bill 9 (SB9). The bill, signed into law by the governor on Sept. 16, allows for additional dwellings and lot splits on existing single-family zoned sites without a hearing or project conditions. SB9 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore gave the presentation.

“What we’re looking at tonight, it’s not going to live forever. It’s only going to last six months. During that time, we’re going to come back to you with a permanent ordinance that addresses SB9, and at the same time, a permanent ordinance that addresses accessory dwelling units. But right now, we just need a placeholder, and we need to really implement what the State law has done; otherwise, State law is going to take precedent,” said Dunsmore.

SB9 is designed with high density, urban areas in mind, so the city of Atascadero is trying to make sure that our rural areas are taken into account when the bill goes into effect.

“In a community that’s rural like Atascadero, we don’t have a lot of property served by sewer. We don’t have a lot of good road access. Secondary access, we call it, with two ways in and out. We have a lot of slopes; we have a lot of creeks, wetlands, and sensitive habitats. We have archeological resources. And we have properties that are potentially historic resources. All of those things are brought up in SB9 and should be protected from being destroyed by much higher density and much higher development. So these are the concerns that are addressed,” Dunsmore continued.

Councilmembers Mark Dariz and Susan Funk, as well as a few public commenters, raised concerns about the 800 square foot second dwelling limit, but Dunsmore explained detached garages and other storage structures did not apply to the 800 feet unless attached.

Urgency Ordinance Adopting Interim Standards for the Implementation of Senate Bill 9 passed unanimously once some of the language was amended on the request of Councilmember Funk and the rest of the Council.

Annexation No. 24 passed unanimously.

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m.