Vote was made after two-day public hearing

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — Following two days of discussion, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors came to a decision on Wednesday, April 24, to approve the Dana Reserve Specific Plan. The project will bring close to 1,400 homes to Nipomo.

With a 3-2 vote — District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson and District 4 Supervisor Jimmy Paulding dissenting — the board approved the plan with mixed feelings from the public.

Per the resolution, the Dana Reserve plan is a 288-acre master-planned community with up to 1,370 residential units, 110,000-203,000 square feet (floor area) of commercial and non-residential (visitor serving/hotel, education) uses, a minimum of 55.6 acres of open space and recreation, and related circulation and infrastructure.


The county first issued a Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an EIR for the Dana Reserve Specific Plan Project on June 24, 2021. It is located on property adjacent to Highway 101, on the westside of the freeway, just south Willow Road.

“Whatever side of the project you’re on, this is about the community coming together and talking about the future of Nipomo,” said Paulding, who counts Nipomo as part of his district.

Since the project’s inception, it has garnered mixed reactions from the community — some against this type of growth for Nipomo and others stating the community has a need for housing in the area. 

After nearly two full days of discussion, more than 100 residents and community members took to the podium during public comment.

One resident argued, “We don’t want more traffic, we don’t want more development. But the reality is, we need to have places where people can live.”

Another said, “All of these things add up to an infrastructure that is just not right.”

The hearing for the plan began on Tuesday, April 23, which heard the majority of public speakers against the project. The next day however heard comments in support of it.

Among the public speakers were the Nipomo Action Committee against the project and another group, the Generation Build, who came to support the project.

NKT Commercial owner Nick Tompkins said, “It was nice for me to hear the many stories about people who need housing and who came in and talked about it.”

After public input, Tompkins acknowledged community concerns about drastic changes but advocated for its approval, recognizing the uncertainty it brings. 

“We’ve been living in a community that you own your home, and it’s been the way that you like it, and it’s going to change. I think that that uncertainty creates fear,” added Tompkins.

Paulding expressed partial support for the Dana Reserve project but opposed its current form due to anticipated significant impacts. Similarly, Gibson also couldn’t back the project without affordability guarantees and considering environmental effects. On the contrary, Supervisors Debbie Arnold, John Peschong, and Dawn Ortiz-Legg supported the project, emphasizing its contribution to addressing housing needs.