Atascadero officials want residents and business owners to help determine the future of the city’s downtown.
The City Council on Tuesday will discuss strategies to increase pedestrian traffic near the Sunken Gardens and to encourage more restaurants, shops and similar businesses to locate there.
Dental and medical offices currently dominate the prime real estate near the park and downtown core, a longtime trend city planners want to change.
The Planning Commission in January voted to advance a plan that would do away with existing parking incentives and require new ground-floor office owners to go through a public hearing process. Ground floor residences would also be prohibited.
So far, the changes would apply only to newly built offices and homes, allowing doctors, dentists and psychologists to continue practicing downtown. New practices could also make use of existing downtown spaces, allowing one medical professional to turn over an office to another.
Some commissioners expressed concerns about medical offices dominating downtown in perpetuity. But the doctors and dentists emphasized their businesses’ positive impact on Atascadero and the traffic they bring downtown.
Residents and business owners can weigh in during Tuesday’s meeting, to be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall, at 6500 Palma Ave.