Posts Tagged ‘California’


Dear SLO:

San Luis Obispo has a maximum buildout of 57,000 residents according to it’s General Plan. Currently (2016) SLO has approx +/- 47,000 residents. Going through the planning process right now there are a total of approx 3000 units within San Luis Ranch, Avila Ranch, the Orcutt Area Specific Plan (area north of tank farm, west of Orcutt road, east of UP RR tracks), and other smaller urban infill sites. (not counting new Madonna housing project behind/south of Home Depot that is being discussed).

At +/- 2.4 residents per housing unit. (SLO occupancy average) these 3000 units will house 7200 people. This leaves SLO with an additional 2800 people to plan for before we meet “buildout”. That means there are only 1167 houses left to plan for… that are not already in the planning process.


These last 1167 houses and what size/price/location they are… are theoretically all we get. We have to make our best efforts to get these 1167 houses to try and balance the issues we are trying to solve. That… and we need to convince the powers that be that the 3000 homes already in the planning process should also carefully consider who they are being built for.

The real fight I believe… will come once that last 1167th house is planned. I suspect that will happen within the next 5-10 years. (keep in mind that the actual buildout of the 3000 houses listed in the various existing plans… as well as the 1167… may take up to 30 years.)

The city and it’s infrastructure, resource acquisition etc… all have been focused on a max of 57,000 people. But then what?

This is one of the reasons we need to think about the various properties that surround our city that are NOT yet in conservation easements or owned as city open space. Because after we reach max buildout the social pressure is really going to rise. All it takes to change that buildout number is 3 council members. (that’s why I italicized theoretically in my third paragraph above)

In order to assure we don’t sprawl… the solution is conservation easements or public ownership of open space surrounding the city completely. That reframes the growth conversation to only height/density/resource availability and housing price.

Meanwhile… people still seem to enjoy having children…

So if you think there is a fierce discussion going on this now… just wait!  Things are gonna get REALLY interesting once we hit buildout!

Eric Meyer


(Note: The recent legislation about infill studios and tiny homes may pre-empt any local jurisdiction’s ability, within the studio housing category, to create a building moratorium on growth for that studio category, based on a population max.   I’m not sure.)

Photo: Ken Kienow

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Jeff Shelton is my favorite moorish/spanish colonial revival style architect… BY FAR!  He makes FUN buildings.  Take Gaudi’s assistant Josep Maria Jujol, mix with Dr. Seuss, toss in a bit of MC Escher… and then stir in a bunch of tile… more than a bunch actually.  I think Jeff must have some sort of back door arrangement with a a mexican encaustic tile factory somewhere.

Dig around on his site… you will love it… I guarantee it!

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A nice 1920’s signpost… advertising Pismo Beach… and I am guessing these guys are the masons that built the sign judging by the level and the trowel.  Pismo for those of you who don’t know… is home of the Pismo Clam… and they are using Abalone shells as decoration….   odd… so maybe these are oddfellows… rather than masons… anyway… I digress.   I suppose they could just be SUPER big clam shells… But I don’t think so.

When I was a kid… there were abalone shells in piles all over San Luis Obispo county… covering the edges of Morro Bay … out in edna valley for some reason… on the side of the road here and there… like trash.  The abalone “farmers” would just pile them up in great heaping piles… along with oyster shells.   You can always tell the old timer back yards in town… with old rock walls… and fish ponds.. now filled with weeds or some haphazard cactus arrangement… they usually have a few abalone shells in them somewhere.

These days a good abalone shell will set you back about 10 bucks on ebay.  and the giant pismo clams… Well when was the last time you saw a 6 inch clam eh.

This signpost was replaced with a Giant cement clamshell sometime after this photo was taken… which is still there.  Unfortunately… both the  abalone… and the pismo clams… are mostly gone now.    Hopefully  the giant clam shell sign in Pismo is protected as a cultural landmark.  Actually there are two giant concrete clams on the side of the road in Pismo… about three blocks from each other.  Evidently one big clam wasn’t enough.

Here are some early bikers on the beach with early motorcycles… a motorcycle gang pre wild bunch era.  I would love to talk to this group… and hear their perspective on things.

and howabout this shot… of the ferro-cement dinosaur namesake from “dinosaur caves” in Shell Beach… all that is left today… are a couple of concrete dinosaur eggs put there a few years ago… in some sort of oddball tribute to the fake dino of years ago.

It would be cool to get the real fake dinosaur back… and I would love to see kids climbing all over it.

These and a bunch of other shots of old Pismo were sent to me by my buddy Richard Jeffers in Santa Barbara.  He ran an upholstery business in Lompoc for many years… and then moved to Santa Barbara and retired… but still did upholstery for a long time there.  He has done a lot of cool hot rods over the years.  He did the interior on our Rometsch Beeskow.  Thanks Jeffers!

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click the image for  the entire view…

Extinct volcanos, great coffee shops, strong bike culture, old ranches, vineyards, two colleges, 10 miles from the ocean… etc etc.  a nice california town.

I found this photo on Wikimedia… it was taken by Gregg Erickson.  see…


UPDATE!  10-22-10… San Luis Obispo is the happiest town in the USA according to National Geographic’s new book… Thrive… by Dan Buettner

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