The proposed site is located near the Atascadero State Hospital 

ATASCADERO — Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the State had chosen Atascadero as one of five state-owned sites to be used for affordable housing. 

“The State has been working on this for several months and had been inquiring about this site,” said Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore of the property. “The site is adjacent to the front access road to ASH (Atascadero State Hospital) on a vacant site near the entry sign to the hospital. The housing sites would be somewhat distanced from the actual ASH facility, but would be closer to ASH administrative buildings and the entry road, close to El Camino Real.”

Both The California Department of Housing and Community Development and the Department of General Services is behind searching for properties to develop. The four other sites that have been announced are Fresno, Covina, Sacramento, and Oceanside.


“Since we have a very low inventory of available land for new development, it is very positive news that the state is declaring some of the vacant land adjacent to ASH as a potential site for a new housing project. New housing available to people in the workforce will help continue to bolster our local employment shortage,” Dunsmore added.

In the meantime, the State of California has released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and is creating a list of qualified home builders. Private and nonprofit housing developers will need to submit proposals to the state to be a part of the qualification process and, from there, enter into a selection process. The housing plan that involves Atascadero is under the executive order N-06-19, which Newsom issued in 2019.

Currently, there is no price set for the units; all that is clear is that the project must be for affordable housing.

“The state has declared the site as surplus and will sell the property to an affordable housing developer, subject to certain conditions. Since it is state-owned, the future project will not have to follow local zoning laws but will need to follow the California Building Code. The city is hopeful that the future developer and the state will work with the city to design a project that is compatible with the neighborhood and respective of local zoning laws,” concluded Dunsmore.