The environmental impact study needed to complete San Luis Obispo’s update of its general plan was certified by the City Council this week. The general plan is a 20-year blueprint for planning and regulating growth in the city.
Only three members of the council were able to vote on the certification Tuesday because councilmen Dan Carpenter and John Ashbaugh both own property in areas that are being updated in the plan. Both recused themselves from the vote.
The city is required by state law to identify potential environmental impacts when updating its general plan.
The land-use changes focus on what types of buildings or businesses will be allowed in specific locations. The circulation changes include things such as road alignments, bike paths, pedestrian bridges and possible interchanges along Highway 101.
It took nearly three years and $1.3 million to complete the land use and circulation update. A citizen panel called the Land Use and Circulation Element Update Task Force led the effort.
The majority of the cost was paid for by an $880,000 state grant; the rest was paid for from the city’s general fund. San Luis Obispo's general plan was last revised in 1994.
Included in the environmental study are three areas that will significantly affect the city once developed: the Dalidio Ranch adjacent to the SLO Promenade shopping center off Madonna Road, two parcels owned by John Madonna along Los Osos Valley Road near the Froom Ranch Shopping Center, and the Avila Ranch off Buckley Road.
Those areas, and how development is envisioned there, will be considered separately by the City Council.
The largest hurdle for finalizing the general plan update lies ahead.
The city of San Luis Obispo and the commission that drafts the safety plans for the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport are going head to head over the city’s future development plans.
On Oct. 21 the City Council will be asked to overrule the Airport Land Use Commission's decision that the city's update of its general plan is inconsistent with the airport's safety plan.
That plan, in place for more than 40 years, determines what type of development can occur around the airport, taking into account both safety and noise impacts, and protects the airport from development that would hinder its future operations.
If the city's plan to overrule the Airport Land Use Commission prevails, it will no longer have to abide by the safety plan.
A two-third vote of the council is needed to approve overruling the Airport Land Use Commission.