Reducing cumbersome permitting and dealing with a lack of infrastructure are two tasks San Luis Obispo should focus on in order to create head-of-household jobs, according to a plan released by the city.
The Economic Strategic Plan is intended to be a five-year guide to luring businesses to provide quality, long-term jobs to the city.
A draft of the plan will be discussed tonight by the city’s Planning Commission.
The City Council identified economic development as a major budget goal, and in November approved spending up to $50,000 on a consultant to compile the report.
A steering committee comprising residents, business owners, property owners and community leaders held four public workshops from March to June before publishing the draft report.
Key findings include:
The fees paid per square foot of building are much higher in San Luis Obispo than other comparable cities.
Processing time and predictability in the permitting process are seen as a barrier.
The city has the space for new businesses to develop in the southern portion of the city, but the high cost of required public infrastructure such as roads and water/sewer services is an impediment to developers.
According to the report, some of the obstacles can be eased by streamlining the city’s permitting process, improving staff communication with those applying for projects and creating standard conditions of approval for areas key to future business development.
Additional recommendations include creating a quarterly portfolio of properties that are ready for development and reducing fees for qualifying projects by creating structured payment plans.
The plan also advocates expanding access to broadband Internet, pursuing further partnerships with Cal Poly and improving coordination between the city’s Economic Development Department and its tourism programs in promoting the city to prospective businesses.
The City Council will consider adopting the strategic plan Aug. 7.
Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.