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Posts Tagged ‘SLO’

erichills

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.

SO…

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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This is a map of the average daily time spent commuting to and from work here in San Luis Obispo County published by Trulia. SLO is in the center… San Miguel at the top… and Santa Maria is at the bottom.  Click on it to focus and enlarge it. (bright green is 5 minutes… darker red is 1 hour)   I’m not certain how accurate it is… I just like maps.

(here is a link to Trulia SLO)

commute1

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UPDATE>>> 6-12-2013  The City Council has quadrupled their budget for bike infrastructure… just last night.  So this will raise the numbers in this post  from 50k to 200k.  Awesome stuff.       THANK YOU CITY COUNCIL!  Send them a thank you by clicking at the link at the bottom of this post!

images-1

After a long and vocal public discussion San Luis Obispo’s 7 major city goals were finalized a few months ago.  Amongst these 7 major goals was one titled “Bikes and Pedestrian Paths” .

Having decided these major city goals the City is next supposed to build it’s two year budget in order to implement those goals.   SLO is discussing this two year budget this week… so here is something to be aware of:

SLO City Council’s General Fund Budget for:  SEE UPDATE AT TOP OF THIS POST

building new bicycle infrastructure for the public: $50,000 (25k per year)  see update at top of this post

purchasing new automobiles for staff:                     $4,000,000

In a nutshell…. Your City Council has decided to spend just 1 penny on new public bike infrastructure… for every dollar they spend on buying new cars for city staff.

Nowhere in the public meetings was “new cars for everyone” brought up.  Yet somehow new cars as a budget expense is almost 100 times larger than any funds directed toward bicycle infrastructure.  (this same budget allocates the same money for lawnmowers as it does new bicycle improvements… it also allocates the same amount just to hire a company to count traffic… SLO spends more of it’s general fund dollars on firehoses than it does on bicycle infrastructure… SLO spends more on drain repairs at City Hall than it does on bike paths)

When you look at it… the budget does include a few large ticket bicycle expenditures that make it look like the city is spending lots on bikes… but in reality, when you dig into the details… 100% of the funds for these larger improvements come from entities other than our city.  For instance:

Railroad Safety bicycle trail -Taft to Pepper      

0 dollars from our General Fund,

$1,759,000 TIF  funds (state transportation improvement funds) and “future” grants as yet undetermined

Bob Jones Trail Connection at LOVR

0 dollars from General Fund

600,000 from a State Highway Grant

Bob Jones Trail Octagon Barn Connection

0 dollars from General fund

165k from federal and state grants SLO is just now applying for

The only actual general fund dollars for bike infrastructure is a “misc bicycle improvements fund”  of 25k per year (see update at top of post)… which mostly goes to painting “sharrows” onto streets.  SLO will never realize it’s bike plan if our council continues to push bikes to the bottom of the list.

Here’s a link to the city council’s email addresses

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This is a map showing where water meters have turned over frequently.  A water meter “turning over” means that someone has cancelled service on their meter… and another person has started service. This typically happens when one person moves out of a unit… and another moves in.  Tracking water meter turnover is a way of tracking unit turnover… how often people move in and out of a given unit.  So in the above map… the more red the color… the more frequently the turnover of units to new tenants or owners.  In some cases as much as 5 or 6 times in a two year period.

According to city-data.com the northern 93405 zip code section of San Luis Obispo is 36% owner occupied while the southern 93401 portion is 43% owner occupied housing.  Contrast this to a +/-60% owner occupied average state wide.

It would be interesting to know the evolution of this over time.  I know that in my own neighborhood Downtown… there are less and less rentals and more owner occupants ever year.  But this has only been happening for the last 10 years or so.  Prior to this my area was almost entirely rentals.  The areas seeing the largest increase in rentals appear to be those surrounding Cal Poly.

It is akin to squeezing a balloon… when the rentals leave one area… they pop up in another.  Cal Poly has suggested that they are interested in seeing all first and second year students live on campus.  This would be warmly received by the long term residents of SLO.

It is a two edged sword living in a college town.  I love the vibrancy, life, and financial stability that the college provides.  I also love having so many talented professors and the knowledge and experience they bring our city.  But the landlords that do not maintain their properties and the tenants that do not respect their neighbors act as a sort of cancer around town.  The neighborhoods most affected by lack of maintenance on the part of some owners and lack of control on the part of some tenants… are those on this heat map that appear the most red.

Most tenants are awesome I should comment…. it is usually only a percentage that cause issues.   90% these issues can be resolved through better lease language, better property management, and higher property maintenance standards on the part of landlords.

If you own a rental in town… this a basically a business you are profiting from.  I personally believe that businesses should be treated differently than residences.  Owner occupants usually care for their properties far better than landlords…. but when the landlords outnumber the owner occupants… and their lack of maintenance impacts the balance of the community so greatly… it becomes a serious issue for the  long term viability of that city.

Something we all need to think about.

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Well… I suppose it had to happen eventually.  That damn book on happiness has outed San Luis Obispo, California big time.  We were on Oprah a couple of days ago. Jenny McCarthy interviewed a bunch of people… and toured around the city and general environs….  talking in that kinda goofy odd “Crest toothpaste spokesmodel” way she has.

I know EVERY SINGLE person interviewed in this segment!   I suppose that it is these social connections that make you feel good about a place.  You can go anywhere and find a conversation almost anytime you like.

Of late I am starting to see more saccharine smiles on tourists around town… Very Stepford wifey.  Wandering around… looking up a lot… as though this were New York maybe… or perhaps like animals that have just been let of of the cage… in a kind of happiness stupor.

The wine and  cheeze places are no doubt doing bang up business… and it is hell to rent a bike I bet.  Oprah Effect they call it.

Here’s kind of a cool overview of SLO and the surrounding area  (a “tilt shift” video)… for some reason a shot of Morro Bay is the first image though!

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