Eagle Ranch in Atascadero awaits next step

Atascadero City Council must set conditions for study of project’s impact on surrounding area

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comJanuary 27, 2013 

Atascadero’s largest potential annexation project could continue its trek through the city planning process at the end of the month.

If approved, a move that’s still more than a year away, Eagle Ranch could add more than 3,000 acres of housing, commercial projects and open space in the rural hills and valleys on Atascadero’s southwest side.

But first, the City Council has to agree to the parameters of a developer-funded document that would study how the project could impact the surrounding area.

Landowners Greg and Jeff Smith of Ventura are working on the proposal with San Luis Obispo’s RRM Design Group.

The Eagle Ranch proposal has been tangled up in planning changes and community workshops for the past several years. Neighbors of the proposed development have already voiced concerns about the development’s impact on roads, traffic and drainage.

At the end of the month, though, the city could begin looking more closely at the overall project when Atascadero’s Design Review Committee makes its recommendation to the council on whether enough work has been done to start the impact study.

The public is invited to comment at the meeting, planned for 6 p.m. Thursday, at the City Hall council chambers, 6907 El Camino Real.

Discussion will again center on a new plan that includes building fewer homes, larger lots and a village center on the property.

The session will also include public comment from a neighborhood workshop held in December.

The City Council is then slated to make its own consideration whether to begin the impact study in a joint meeting with the Planning Commission slated for Feb. 26.

If the council opts to let consultants begin the study, the effort should take about a year to complete, city community development director Warren Frace said.

After the study is published “then we’ll talk about approval and annexation hearings, which take quite awhile,” Frace added.

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