Barrel Creek Hearing continued to March 28 due to power outage 

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 14, at 6 p.m. The meeting followed closely behind an emergency meeting that declared Atascadero under a local emergency due to the atmospheric river that was taking place. The meeting was held virtually. Councilmember Heather Newsom was absent from the night’s meeting.

During the short emergency meeting, the council reviewed AB 361 Requirements for Virtual Meetings and Ratifing a Proclamation of Existence of Local Emergency. 

“Basically, AB 361 is the requirement in the government code under the Brown Act that allows us to have the meeting like we’re having tonight, fully virtual vs. our hybrid—virtual and in person. In order to have that, the council has to make a finding that there is an emergency and that that emergency has also been declared by the governor, declared locally, and that council finds that it’s in the public interest and necessity to find the emergency conditions and to have these meetings virtual,” stated Deputy City Manager Lara Christensen.


The governor did declare the atmospheric rivers as an emergency on March 1. The Director of Emergency Services in Atascadero, City Manager Rachelle Rickard, declared the storms a local emergency on March 10. 

Both Ratifying the Existence of a Local Emergency and the Resolution AB 361 Requirements for Virtual Meetings passed unanimously and will remain in place for 30 days. 

The Agenda passed unanimously, as did the Consent Calendar, once amendments were made to item 4: Road Abandonment to Summarily Vacate an Undeveloped Portion of Conejo Road Right-of-way.

The meeting then went into a Public Hearing on the Barrel Creek Project. Senior Planner Kelly Gleason gave the presentation, which covered some changes made to the plan after multiple rounds of the item being discussed at Planning Commission meetings over the past couple of months. Scott Martin, an RRM Design Group architect who represented Developer Eric Tienkenatgave, gave a presentation on the applicant’s behalf. 

During Public Comment, 14 individuals spoke on the Barrel Creek Project, and many of them were against the council approving the project due to environmental impact and not making sure that local labor would be used in the building of the project before moving forward. While comments were being made, it came to light that power had been out in some areas of Atascadero, and residents were either unable to make a public comment or had missed vital parts of Gleason and Martin’s presentations on the item. 

City Attorney Brian Pierik suggested due to the power outage that, the hearing be continued to a future meeting so residents who missed part or all of the hearing could review the presentations on the hearing via the city’s YouTube Chanel and be able to make Public Comment at a later date. 

“Without having seen that portion of the meeting, that may or may not have influenced what the members of the public may have wanted to say in their public comment,” said Pierik.

The Barrel Creek Hearing has been continued to March 28. You can see the start of the hearing at this address:

The council approved the 2023 Community Development Block Grant Funding Recommendations. They also approved the D-20 Annual Report. 

The council also approved the purchasing of both replacement heart monitors and automated external defibrillators for the Atascadero Fire Department and replacement Body-worn Cameras for the Atascadero Police Department.

City Manager Rachelle Rickard gave an update on the 2023 Strategic Planning Statements and Strategic Priorities, including a new mission statement for the City of Atascadero.

“We worked at what are those core things that we want to make sure our employees are remembering and doing every single day, and that us as a city organization, what is our mission. I’m really excited about this. We came up with: ‘Working together to serve, build community, and enhance quality of life.’ That is the mission of the city organization if you so adopt it tonight,” stated Rickard.

The motion passed unanimously.

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 28, at 6 p.m.