Downtown Vitality, the Establishment Clause, and Progress on a North County Homeless Shelter

In her monthly report, Atascadero City Manager Rachelle Rickard informed the council that downtown continues to grow with new businesses. Locally grown favorites such as Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab, Jamba Juice and SloDoCo doughnuts are expected to go a long way in revitalizing the historic downtown and possibly expanding local waistlines. Malibu Brew Coffee moved its location to a new spot on East Mall across from the Sunken Garden and Colony Market and Deli, located at the corner of Traffic Way and El Camino, opened at the end of March.
Community Liaison for Atheists United San Luis Obispo, Dan Feldman, addressed the council during the time set apart for public comment. Reading from a prepared statement, Feldman said that the organization consists of more than 600 members and advocates for the separation of church and state.
The City voted to postpone a request to investigate changing the zoning of a property located at 10080 Atascadero Avenue in a three-to-one vote with councilmember Funk opposed. The proposed “one-off” zoning exception would have begun the process of subdividing the parcel into four separate lots approximately 1.11 acres in size. Councilmembers in favor of tabling the project voiced their concerns that the City staff already has enough work and does not have time to dedicate to another project that would “benefit almost exclusively for the property owner.”
The council approved the adoption of a draft resolution supporting the grant application by the City of Paso Robles for San Luis Obispo County Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funding. Paso Robles City Council continues to move forward in the creation of a new North County homeless shelter.
In November 2018, the City adopted a resolution to declare a citywide homeless shelter crisis in order to be eligible to receive a portion of the $500 million in California State Grant Block funds set aside to address the homeless issue. Rickard said that San Luis Obispo County is expected to receive approximately $4.8 million from the grant block.
“It has been difficult for the available resources that we have here in the North County to meet the needs of the North County homeless population,” Rickard said.
According to the 2018 U.S. Census, 19 percent of Californians live in poverty, which ties with Florida and Louisiana for the highest rate in the United States.