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Paso planners approve 271-home addition to River Oaks

A view looking northeast from the River Oaks Golf Course. The Paso Robles Planning Commission has approved plans to add 271 new homes to the development, as well as expansion of the spa resort and a pavilion.
A view looking northeast from the River Oaks Golf Course. The Paso Robles Planning Commission has approved plans to add 271 new homes to the development, as well as expansion of the spa resort and a pavilion. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

A 271-home expansion to the River Oaks residential development in Paso Robles is one step closer to reality.

The Paso Robles Planning Commission unanimously approved the project this past week, sending it on to the City Council. The council is scheduled to consider the issue June 21.

The proposal would add homes to the existing River Oaks development north of Highway 46 East. Of the 271 homes, 144 would be a gated community reserved for residents ages 55 and older.

The remaining homes would be additions to the existing Classics and Vineyard Estates neighborhoods. The development would cover 129 acres and accommodate about 720 new residents.

“The project creates a logical northern extension of the existing River Oaks neighborhood, located west of Buena Vista Drive,” city staff said in their weekly update.

One key feature of the development is a 26-acre agricultural reserve near the center of the site. In addition to growing crops, the reserve will include a farm stand to sell the produce.

Other features of the development are set to include an expansion of the existing Hot Springs Resort and dedication of 17 acres along the Salinas River for public trails and recreation.

At last week’s hearing, the staff provided an overview of the project including its agricultural buffers, traffic impacts, water supply and extension of the city’s recycled water system, which will be used for landscape irrigation in the development. The project received no opposition at the hearing and the commission complimented the project.

City Planner Susan DeCarli said the lack of opposition is due to the fact that city officials and developers, Dick and Wes Willhoit of Estrella Associates, worked proactively to keep the community informed and address concerns. In November, they held a public meeting and tour of the site.

Since then, the applicant and staff have met every two weeks to coordinate approval of the necessary development permits. However, the public is likely to have additional questions at the council’s June meeting, DeCarli said.

“People these days tend to ask about water and traffic impacts, particularly water,” she said.

If approved by the City Council, construction is expected to be done in phases over eight years.

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