Council discusses the Objective Design Standards Project

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

The agenda for the night passed unanimously.

The council brought forth a proclamation declaring July as Parks Make Life Better Month. Former Parks Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Heather Newsom read the proclamation celebrating the multiple parks in Atascadero.


“The City of Atascadero accepting this proclamation and making it official is a big deal. It sets a president for other agencies in our district and statewide,” said California Park and Recreation Society, District 8 President Jennifer Fanning. “Thank you all council members and mayor for making that proclamation happen.”

Mayor Heather Moreno thanked Fanning for her commitment and dedication to serving the residents of Atascadero through the park system.

The Consent Calendar, which included the March 2022 Investment Report and the continuation of hybrid meetings, passed unanimously.

The council was then presented with the city’s Objective Design Standards Project Update. This is an ongoing item and was solely a discussion topic for the evening.

“Well, it’s been a couple of years we’ve been thinking about bringing this forward to the community and talking about objective design standards,” said Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore. “It stems from one of the policies in our recently adopted housing element, and that’s to adopt objective design standards that really help straighten our local control over the design of future multi-family and mixed-use projects.

“Since there’s been a lot of new state housing laws that really require that we have a streamlined process, that we have a lot of things that are by right, it’s time for us to adopt some local standards so we can have some local expectations that continue to protect our neighborhoods and to really have quality design.”

SB 330. The Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which amended the Housing Accountability Act, and SB 35: the Streamline Approval Process, are two of the new state housing laws.

“So the intent of all these laws was really to streamline housing developments and refuse some of the local discretion that happens in the local review process, where a project could be denied based on non-objective criteria,” said MIG Consultant Genevieve Sharrow. “And the goal of all this statewide legislation is really coming out of the legislative intent around the housing crisis, while still providing a pathway for jurisdictions to have tailor development design standards to suit the local community.”

Sharrow then went on to provide the council with six key goals for Atascadero’s Objective Design Standards: Tradition, Transitions, Streamline, Outdoor Gathering Space, Eclectic, and Pedestrian Vitality Downtown.

The council was also presented with a list of eight design standards. Those design standards were: Setbacks, Massing, Articulation/Roof Forms, Orientation/Frontage, Relationship to the Street, Circulation/Parking, Open Space/Landscaping, and Materials.

The council was then asked to give feedback on all the items presented. That feedback was used to move forward in narrowing down the objectives for a future meeting where the council will be asked to provide further action on key policy items.

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