A special mail-only election will be held in November for a select few San Luis Obispo voters to determine the future of a 231-acre stretch of unincorporated land that the city wants to control.
The San Luis Obispo City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to set an election for Nov. 15 for the 54 registered voters living in the disputed part of the Orcutt area southeast of the city limits. Mayor Jan Marx recused herself because she owns property near the area at issue.
The election was triggered when opponents of a plan to annex that area into San Luis Obispo filed enough protest letters in July with the local agency in charge of reviewing the proposed annexation.
The majority of property owners living in that area have long sought to have their lands annexed into the city for future development.
The city, which adopted a specific plan for the area to manage the growth there in 2010, even paid for the annexation application to show its support for the future development of the area within city limits.
The stretch of open hillside could eventually be developed to include nearly 1,000 new homes, a shopping center, 20 acres of parks and open space, including Righetti Hill, and possibly a new school. Complete development is expected to take up to 30 years.
Only the 54 registered voters living in the area will be eligible to vote. A majority vote, 50 percent plus one, would be needed to overturn the annexation approved by the San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission in April.
This will be the second mail-only election in the city this year. On Aug. 30, citywide voters will determine the fate of two measures centered on pay and compensation for city employees.
The election on the annexation will be handled by the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office and will cost the city an estimated $2,000.
The council also decided Tuesday to decline a staff suggestion to form an ad hoc subcommittee that would have had two council members craft ballot arguments in favor of annexation, despite pleas by Councilman John Ashbaugh to allow him to do so.
Ashbaugh said he felt the council should represent the city’s interest in the annexation moving forward.The city will ask David Church, the commission’s executive director, to write the impartial analysis on the proposal, which will be due Sept. 9.