ATASCADERO — Tuesday night was a busy one for the Atascadero City Council as Councilmen Mark Dariz and Charles Bourbeau, Mayor Heather Moreno, and new Police Chief Robert “Bob” Masterson were sworn in. 

The meeting began with the oath of office for new Councilmember Dariz and returning member Bourbeau and Mayor Moreno before getting a little emotional as they said their goodbyes to Councilmember Roberta Fonzi. She served the City for 22 years. 

“I want to thank you for the privilege of serving with you — alongside you — and thank you for the tremendous sacrifice that is involved with so many, many years of service to our community,” Moreno said. “This is hard work that we do on the Council, but we do it right, and I appreciate that you have hung in there for a long time and tried to move our community forward.”

Following comments from each of the council members, San Luis Obispo County District 5 Supervisor Debbie Arnold called in to say a few words and read a resolution from the Board of Supervisors recognizing Fonzi’s exemplary service. 

Getting through this together, Atascadero

“I want to thank you for all you’ve done for the City of Atascadero,” Arnold said. “I give you a lot of credit. The place that we all love and enjoy today, you’ve been there for a long time making all that happen, so thank you for everything.”

With the new Council officially set for the next two years, they selected a new mayor pro tem. As the incumbent, Bourbeau nominated Councilwoman Heather Newsom, who accepted and assumed the position after the motion passed. 

Tuesday night, the Atascadero City Council also welcomed its new police chief after saying goodbye to former Chief Jerel Haley in October after nine years in charge. Masterson, who was most recently the chief of police in King City for the past five years, has over 34 years of widely varied experience in small- and mid-sized law enforcement agencies.

According to his resume, the new chief spent 20 years working in the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, working in many fields, including street crimes investigations commander and internal affairs. The new chief is expected to start on Dec. 4.

The major topics of discussion aside from new hires and departures were the 2021 Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and revisiting the current drive-through businesses, fuel stations, and other high-traffic producing uses policy created in 2019. 

CDBG funds are available for community development activities, which meet at least one of three national objectives. The objectives benefit low- and moderate-income persons, aid in the prevention or elimination of blight, or address urgent needs that pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community. 

The City received nine requests, and after much debate, the Council agreed to take the average amount wagered to each request. 

The Council also engaged in a long and spirited discussion on the “moratorium” placed on new high-traffic producing land uses within the commercial areas served by Del Rio and San Anselmo Road overpasses at Highway 101 and the commercial zones between those locations. 

Ultimately the Council decided to make no changes as they await the results from an impact study that should be ready this spring. 

To watch this City Council meeting or any, go to www.atascadero.org and follow the tabs at the top of the page.