Residents may block SLO annexation of Orcutt area

A last attempt by opponents of the city of San Luis Obispo’s plan to annex 230 acres in the Orcutt area was made before the local agency in charge of approving it Monday.

Under the plan, the stretch of open hillside could eventually be developed to include nearly 1,000 new homes, a shopping center, a park and possibly a new school.

Enough written protests were filed to derail the plan, but it won’t be known until later this week if those efforts were valid.

A packed but mostly quiet audience filled a conference room at the County Government Center to watch the protest hearing unfold before the San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission. The agency decides the boundaries of local governments.

The results of the hearing will determine the fate of the annexation, approved by the commission in April after nearly 15 years of efforts by landowners lobbying for it.

Opponents of the plan are relying on a clause that stipulates two options.

If at least 25 percent of registered voters in the affected area protest — 10 voters in this case — it would trigger an election to decide the proposed annexation’s fate. The area had 37 registered voters as of last week.

Also, the annexation could be terminated if 50 percent — or 19 of the 37 — submit valid written protests.

In all, 24 registered-voter protests were filed Monday, according to David Church, the commission’s executive director. Those protests were submitted to the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office for validation.

If an election is triggered, the city, which applied for the annexation, will have the option of contracting with the county office to hold an election for the few registered voters living in the area.

The disputed area stretches south from the city limits to the intersection of Orcutt and Tank Farm roads.

The majority of the 13 property owners who own the largest parcels of land in the area want to develop. The city has already approved a land-use plan for the area, which would dictate how future development unfolds.

Two property owners spoke Monday, saying they’ve been against the plan from the beginning.

“We are going to do what we can to not let the issue of annexation involve us,” Paul Garay said.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.