Atascadero considers annexing project

On Tuesday, the Atascadero City Council considered what is potentially the largest annexation to come before the city.

The council voted 5-0 to have staff issue a request for proposals for an environmental impact report and plan for a series of public meetings and a review process on the Eagle Ranch development.

The long-discussed project, which could add more than 3,000 acres to the city, includes homes, an equestrian center and a resort.

The land, located on the city’s south side, also has historic colony lots and beginnings of roads that are tied to the original blueprint of the Atascadero Colony that community founder E.G. Lewis started in the early 1900s.

The private land, characterized by its oak-covered hillsides, has long been used for ranching and agriculture. Much of it is proposed to remain that way, according to the city.

The parcel is bordered by Los Padres National Forest to the south and west, including West Cuesta Ridge and Cerro Alto.

For nearly the last decade, Atascadero’s plan for growth has identified Eagle Ranch as a way for the city to expand.

Initial movement on the plan — through applicant Eagle Ranch LLC — began more than 10 years ago. In 2008, the City Council at the time voted to begin the more formal studies.

At a January 2008 public open house for the project, the community suggested that besides homes, the land could include open space, parks, trails, an equestrian center and a high-end hotel with a spa.

In 2009, the applicants worked to develop a preliminary project proposal.

According to the city, surveys and analysis reports thus far show the environmental concerns that could impact historical and cultural resources, native trees, creeks, wetlands and areas of potential biological importance.

The applicant will pay for the environmental review.

Highlights of the Eagle Ranch project

- Reclustering of the original 452 colony lots into single-family residential lots ranging from 8,000 square feet to 1 acre each

- Small-scale retail and offices in the middle of the project

- Multifamily residential units, including affordable and senior housing

- A resort

- A public park

- A possible school site

- New roads to coincide with existing ranch roads

- Public pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian trails

Assistant City Editor Stephen Curran contributed to this report.