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SLO County Roundup

Grover Beach

The City Council this week delayed a decision on whether to raise water rates, continuing the discussion to its July 6 meeting.

City officials say the increase is needed in large part to pay for the city’s share of $26 million in upgrades at the Lopez Lake reservoir.

Grover Beach received 71 written protests to the rate hikes. The city would have needed written protests from more than 50 percent of all water uses — or 2,407 people — to stop the process of raising the rates, City Manager Bob Perrault said.

The council asked staff to analyze whether it would be possible to increase water rates in phases over a six-month period.

If approved as proposed at Monday’s meeting, the rates would rise at least 30 percent starting next month, with a 2 percent increase in July 2011.

The increases are based on how much water is consumed and the size of the consumer’s meter.

A residential customer using 22 units of water with a 1-inch meter, for example, would see the bi-monthly bill increase nearly $29, to $94 from $65.30.

Commercial customers using 12 units of water with a 1-inch meter can expect to see their bills increase to $122.70 from $69.42, Perrault said.

A unit of water is equal to 784 gallons.

— Cynthia Lambert

San Luis Obispo

A citizens’ initiative to eliminate part of the planned Prado Road extension that would encroach on the Damon-Garcia Sports Fields has qualified for the November ballot in San Luis Obispo.

The City Council still must certify the initiative for the ballot. The council also has the option of enacting the initiative’s request.

However, several council members have already spoken publicly against the initiative. The council recently directed staff to prepare a report on the possible impacts of the initiative. Staff will present the initiative to the council July 20. San Luis Obispo residents Mila Vujovich-La Barre -— who actively opposed the Dalidio Ranch shopping center -— Bill Wilson and Michael Sullivan gathered 3,753 signatures; 2,667 were needed to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

At issue is the alignment of the Prado Road extension, which would end at Broad Street between Industrial and Capitolio ways, just north of the Damon-Garcia Sports Fields.

The council approved the plan in 2004 as part of the Margarita Area Specific Plan, which sets parameters for development in an area between South Higuera, South and Broad streets.

The Prado Road extension as planned would cross the boundaries of the park and extend across Acacia Creek. The initiative seeks to prevent the road from encroaching on the park or the adjacent South Hills open space.

— AnnMarie Cornejo

Atascadero

The City Council passed a resolution opposing a proposal before the International Whaling Commission to lift the moratorium on commercial whaling.

Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo and county Board of Supervisors previously passed the same resolution.

The Atascadero City Council voted 4-1 earlier this month against lifting the ban.

Councilman Jerry Clay dissented. Clay said he opposes whaling but didn’t think it was a matter the city should vote on.

Many council members agreed Atascadero does not have jurisdiction over whaling but felt whale watching was an activity that promotes local tourism, something Atascadero can support.

Mayor Roberta Fonzi said she’d be reluctant to consider any future resolutions out of Atascadero’s jurisdiction.

The International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting started Monday in Morocco. After meetings Wednesday, it appeared the 1986 ban on whaling will not be lifted. Talks continue through Friday.

— Tonya Strickland, The Associated Press

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