Council declares July Parks Make Life Better Month

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero City Council met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, July 9, at 6 p.m. The hybrid meeting was held in the City Council Chambers. 

At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Heather Moreno read a proclamation that declared July as Parks Make Life Better Month.

“Whereas Parks and Recreation promotes physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness through organized and self-directed fitness, play, and activity. And whereas Parks and Recreation supports the economic vitality of communities by providing front-line jobs, childcare for the essential workforce, and promoting community revitalization,” Moreno said at the beginning of the proclamation.


Recreation Supervisor Larisse Lopez was there to receive the proclamation. 

“The Community Services Department and our entire rec team would like to thank the City Council for recognizing July as Parks Make Life Better Month. Without all our open spaces and great parks, our crew would not be able to serve the community in all the ways we do. From our programs and our activities to our special events. Our current summer lineup is packed full of things taking place outside in our parks and our different facilities,” said Lopez.

Later in the meeting, Planning Manager Kelly Gleason presented the council with the lone public hearing of the night, an Amendment to Grand Oaks Paseo Master Plan of Development. 

“We first saw this project Nov. 2019 when it was approved with a small lot subdivision that included a lot of cottage homes, a community building, and a live-work component as well,” Gleason said. “The community building had some flexible gathering space within it and was just kind of a single-story building along the frontage of the project. To date, they’ve completed a large majority of the project. There are 20 units that are finalized and have families living in them. There are five cottage units that are nearing completion, and then construction work did start on the live-work building.”

Other revisions were requested last year in 2023. And that version of the project made it all the way to council. Residents since that meeting have had concerns with construction of a unit on Lot 14 that wasn’t originally shown on the marketing given out by the applicants. The applicants worked with the Homeowners Accociation (HOA) to revise and amend the plan that would eliminate the Lot 14 unit and modify the rest of the project.

“So the proposed amendments this evening do eliminate that unit 14, which was kind of in the center of the open space area, and modifying the community building to include two additional residential (rental) units. So this increases the project’s feasibility with the elimination of that unit 14 and allows the community building to move forward financially as well,” added Gleason. “They’re also requesting the elimination of the carport that was originally proposed over the residential tandem parking spaces.”

The amendments would also leave room for a new central patio space with barbecue and firepit tables for the residents, along with more. It would also remove the deck from under the large oak tree to save it as it is in state of decline due to construction and harsh summers. Developers also requested changes to the construction phasing agreement. 

Councilmember Charles Bourbeau put forth the motion to pass the item with addition of making sure that the two additional rental units could not be used as short-term rentals. The motion passed unanimously.

During Council Announcements and Committee Reports, councilmember Heather Newsom addressed the community on why she has been absent the last couple of meetings.

“Being an elected official is always a challenge of balancing public office and maintaining a private life. In doing so, my family wants to acknowledge that we are very blessed to have a wonderful sister of mine who did a selfless act,” said Newsom.

She went on to say that her husband was the recipient of an organ transplant from her sister to help him survive. He has been recovering for the last few weeks. She also thanked her city family, the Atascadero Fire Department, the medical teams throughout the state of California who helped her family, and the Mercy Air Paso Team, who flew her husband to San Fransico for his operation.

“Thank you, and we’re very excited to be back on the dais,” Newsom added. “If I come and go, you’ll know why, because I’m out celebrating the importance of every day, because we have to live in the moment because tomorrow’s not promised.”

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 6 p.m.