An extensive and comprehensive process allows the opportunity to evaluate many important factors

by Rachelle Rickard
Atascadero City Manager 

Coming Soon!  The City of Atascadero is very pleased to announce that it’s now time to begin the process to update our General Plan, so be on the lookout for more information from us in the upcoming months, and then be sure to share your thoughts and have your say in helping to shape the future of Atascadero!

The extensive and comprehensive General Plan Update process is when we have the opportunity to evaluate important factors such as the expected long-term growth of our community, available resources, the health and safety of our residents, and a host of other essential topics. The process will help us to gauge our community’s values and reflect on past policies. This will be our “roadmap” to where we want to be in 20 years and how we plan to get there. 


As a brief history lesson and timeline of how our City was imagined and shaped so far:

  • 1913 – Founder, E.G., Lewis planned and established the Colony of Atascadero
  • 1968 – County of SLO adopted a General Plan (GP) for unincorporated Atascadero
  • 1978 – County Board of Supervisors adopted Atascadero’s GP update
  • 1979 – Residents of Atascadero voted in favor of incorporation
  • 1980 – Newly elected Planning Commission updated the GP, with another update in 1992
  • 2002 –The City’s current GP was adopted, with minor updates in 2004, 2008, 2016, and 2021

Atascadero’s current General Plan includes elements that can be compared to chapters of a book. Each element contains a general introduction along with a set of Goals, Policies, and Programs designed to guide growth while preserving resources and community quality through 2025. We are nearing what is often referred to as “General Plan buildout,” as our City is reaching many of the goals and objectives that were identified in 2002. Our population has now exceeded 30,000, and the time is here to re-evaluate policies that continue to guide future growth, use of resources, and economic trends.

State law requires the City to adopt a “comprehensive, long-term General Plan for physical development.” Our updated General Plan will include policies and programs for the City’s distribution and character of land uses and development. As the community’s “blueprint” for development, the General Plan must contain the seven state-mandated elements: Land Use, Open Space, Conservation, Housing, Circulation, Noise, and Safety. 

The update process involves substantial public outreach, multiple public hearings, and a significant environmental review process. Beginning this year, we expect the entire process to run throughout all of 2022, with final adoption about mid-year in 2023. The new General Plan will forecast the City’s growth and policy objectives through the year 2045.

A robust and inclusive community engagement strategy is a vital component of the update process. We will have a highly visible and all-inclusive outreach to help us engage with and gather input from as many community members as possible, through a combination of venues at various times of day and at multiple forums. There will also be online participation options, to help ensure anyone who cannot participate in person is included in the process.

We have set up a project webpage at that will provide up-to-date information to everyone who would like to learn more about the process, how they can be involved, and sign up to receive project updates. This online platform will supplement the various social media and in-person outreach opportunities we’ll be using so that every Atascadero resident, business owner, and the property owner can join us in envisioning the future of our wonderful community!

For more information about this or any other topic related to the City of Atascadero, please free to contact me by email at