City Manager announces the Atascadero Rock Snake now holds around 5200 rocks

ATASCADERO —The Atascadero City Council met on Tuesday, Mar. 23, at 6 p.m. for a regularly scheduled meeting.

The meeting opened with a reading from Atascadero Councilwoman Susan Funk and AAUW member Linda Baker, who requested the Mayor’s support, to proclaim Wednesday, Mar. 24 as Equal Pay Day.

“It is my great honor to present this proclamation virtually,” said Funk. 

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Atascadero Chapter of AAUW has advocated for local women and girls and raised awareness of issues like equal pay for more than 80 years. Mar. 24 symbolized the time in 2021 where the wages paid to women catch up to the wages paid to men in the year before.

Linda Baker spoke to the Council, expressing her excitement over the proclamation. “Mar. 24 recognizes the vital role that women play in their families and our community…When a worker isn’t earning to capacity, simply because she’s female, everyone is held back…Paying women is not solely a women’s issue. It’s a family issue. It’s a national issue. Wouldn’t it be great if next year, we didn’t need to have equal pay day.”

The meeting proceeded with approving the consent agenda 4-0, which can be found in full here.

Next, the City Manager, Rachelle Rickard, gave an update on some items.

  • The rock snake in atascadero and the potential to be added to the Guinness Book of World Records. Currently the longest record is 8000 rocks held in UK, and the Atascadero Rock Snake now holds around 5200.
  • The potential for a concessionaire for paddle boats at the Atascadero Lake, where applicants can apply until Apr. 26. 
  • Farmer’s Market is open each Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Apr. 7, they will celebrate their 4 year anniversary of returning to the downtown.
  • Brew at the Zoo – Saturday, Apr. 24 from 12:30-3:30 p.m. This event will bring ciders and beer to the comfort of your own home, as well as have awards for costumes. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Atascadero Zoo.
  • Sewer line construction project is underway at Atascadero Mall. The new sewer line runs under Highway 101 and the Atascadero Bible Church side of the median is closed to through traffic; a detour is creating two-way traffic on the other side. Plan for the detour, and please drive cautiously. 
  • Some Atascadero Armory items have moved up to Camp Roberts. The property is owned by the state. The property has not been placed on the surplus placement. There is a long process to find what will happen with the land

Moving to public hearings, the Council heard a request for authorization to process General Plan Amendment for 2055 El Camino Real (Cal Coastal Communities). The recommendation was that Council authorizes the Cal Coastal Development Team to proceed with a Specific Plan Amendment application to the Del Rio Commercial Area Specific Plan to allow for submittal of a commercial resort concept while reconfiguring the existing residential zone. 

The land proposed for the project is at the intersection of Del Rio, previously planned for a Walmart. The new proposal is for an experiential retail center, which would include 145,000 square feet of retail, 5 acres for residential, 11 acres of lodging with small bungalows and RV spaces, hiking trails separating the residential from commercial. 

The Council heard from the applicant, as well as members of the public, most of whom expressed their approval of the project and the opportunity it means for Atascadero. With the promise of more traffic studies to come, the Council approved moving forward with both a general and specific plan with a vote of 4-0.

Item C was the Managers Reports: Proposed Sewer Service Rate Increase. Presented by Nick DeBar. The increase in rates, which is mainly due to a 15-year lack of increases while expenses to the city did increase, still keeps Atascadero on the low end of the rates when compared to the county. The sewer service rate increase was approved 4-0.

The city manager, Rickard, then presented on the COVID update, which was that the city is on the cusp of the Orange Tier, but still currently in the red. Rickard encourages citizens to continue to test and to continue to sign up for vaccinations. 

To watch this or any City Council meeting, head to Atascadero.org to sign up.