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Issues in San Luis Obispo County are jobs, growth and water, survey finds

San Luis Obispo County residents believe the top three issues that will impact the area in the next few years are employment and jobs, fast and uncontrolled growth, and water.

That’s according to a survey conducted by Action for Healthy Communities, a collaborative of public agencies and private organizations.

The findings were first released in a comprehensive 413-page report in 2010. Over the past year, information on specific topics, such as seniors or nutrition, has been released in a shorter, more readable format.

The latest short report, released this week, highlights issues that could affect community development in San Luis Obispo County, based on a telephone survey in 2010 of 1,101 county residents who shared concerns about preserving open spaces, water, air pollution, traffic, and other environmental and social issues affecting their quality of life.

Over the past decade, the county’s unemployment rate has more than doubled, to 10.2 percent in 2010 from 4 percent in 2001, and the county has experienced a net loss of 5,100 jobs.

On the growth issue, 69 percent of survey respondents said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned about construction in open spaces.

But although the rate of growth was a concern, housing construction has declined to an average of 654 new units built per year from 2008-10, compared with an average of 1,668 homes built annually from 2001-07.

In 2006, survey respondents’ top concern was the cost of housing, which has declined since the recession.

To read the full report, go to www.unitedwayslo.org/action10/index.html.

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