Draft resolution and ordinance for Sales Tax Measure for consideration at June 11 meeting approved

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero City Council met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 12, at 6 p.m. The hybrid meeting was held in the City Council Chambers.

The evening’s main topic of discussion was the General Plan Update Project. The project was presented by both city staff and MIG, Inc. consultants who have been working on the project.

“We’re really proud to present to you another significant phase of the General Plan Update tonight,” said Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore. “Consider tonight a check-in. A check-in of several check-ins that we’re going to be doing throughout this process. Tonight’s not a night where we’ll be making any final decisions, but tonight is a night where we will be giving some significant direction on the future of our city.” 


The main focus was to go over the General Plan Map, which will designate what will go where in the city, with key land use strategies. Dan Amsden from MIG, Inc. stated that the night’s core discussion would be the starting point to prepare more detailed policies, goals, and actions for the draft General Plan and will allow them to start the environmental analysis. It will all come back for additional review in the future.

“So the key policy considerations when we look at different housing types, we have to go inward a little bit in Atascadero,” Dunsmore said. “We don’t have a lot of buildable land, we have a lot of typography, we have the Salinas River that kind of restricts us on one side, we’ve got Highway 101, we have a certain capacity for our wastewater treatment plant, and we have a certain amount of water in our community. But we still have room for additional housing.”

The updated land use designations or placetypes presented at the meeting are as follows:

  • Rural Residential
  • Very Low Density Residential (1-4 units per acre)
  • Low-Density Residential (5-12 units per acre)
  • Medium Density Residential (13-24 units per acre)
  • High-Density Residential (25-36 units per acre)
  • Mixed Use (20-36 units per acre)
  • Downtown Mixed Use
  • Commercial
  • Community Recreation (indoor and outdoor recreational use)
  • Innovation/Flex (mix of business and pedestrian uses)
  • Industrial
  • Conservation/Parks/Open Space
  • Public/Quasi Public (fire stations, City Hall, schools…)

“If you look at this map, a vast majority of Atascadero is that rural residential, and we’re not losing that,” stated Mayor Heather Moreno. “I know sometimes, when we start looking at density, people think, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re becoming LA.’ We’re not becoming LA; that’s not happening. We’re keeping that rural kind of feel, that rural residential area.” 

The council then went over specific community focus areas within the map. Starting with the north end of town and heading south:

  • Ramona Road
  • Del Rio
  • San Benito
  • San Anselmo
  • Traffic Way/Sycamore Road
  • Downtown Core
  • Infill Flex 
  • Morro Road
  • Triangle Neighborhood
  • South Atascadero Commercial
  • South Gateway

The council wanted nine of the items changed or looked at closer, including a redefinition of low-density, how to deal with the land around the Salinas River, and how to deal with the land around non-city-maintained roads.

The next step will be starting the environmental impact report. There will also be another round of community engagement in the fall of this year.

Planning Manager Kelly Gleason then presented the council with the General Plan & Housing Element Annual Progress Report 2023. The council reviewed and accepted the item.

At 10:45 p.m. Moreno asked that the council pass a motion that the meeting could go past 11 p.m.

Deputy City Manager Lara Christensen presented the council with the consideration of a new sales tax measure. Back in November 2014, the City Council voted to place Measure F-14 on the ballot. It was a 0.5 percent sales tax increase to fund infrastructure repairs. The measure passed with over 58 percent voter approval. It went into effect April 2015 and generates $3 million annually. The measure will sunset on March 31, 2027.

Council was recommended to direct staff to prepare a draft resolution and ordinance for City Council’s consideration for the June 11 meeting. To continue to place a 0.5 percent sale tax measure (which will be new, but be a complete rollover of the current F-14, with no additional taxes added to what residents are already paying). The measure would go on the November 2024 ballot and, if voted on in the affirmative, would go into effect on April 1, 2027.

The motion passed unanimously.

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m.