This week the San Luis Obispo city council voted unanimously to update the city’s zoning rules. In a five-hour meeting Tuesday night, the council approved a package of regulations addressing topics such as building heights, land uses and parking.
Other proposed ordinances—like those focused on tiny homes on wheels and accessory dwelling units (ADUs)—were sent back for further tweaking.
Besides governing land uses, the update to the city’s zoning rules “incorporates policies and programs that address sustainability and climate change, and addresses current California laws,” according to Michael Codron, San Luis Obispo’s community development director.
The council voted in favor of new electronic vehicle (EV) parking requirements for new developments and upping the requirement to provide bicycle parking, along with lockers and showers.
A large chuck of the meeting was dedicated to public comment. For hours, dozens of residents went to the podium to say their peace, offer suggestions and ask questions, as the city council discussed the new zoning regulations that will affect how the city looks and works for year to come.
Long-time residents worried about future traffic jams from all the new developments under construction. Newcomers mourned home prices out of reach and asked for affordable housing that’s truly affordable for working folks. Many spoke about a proposed height increase, to 75 feet, for new buildings going up along the upper Monterey Street corridor.
Meanwhile, city staff and policy makers listened and took notes, tweaking the proposed regulations to incorporate new requests and ideas. Several people urged officials to rethink the allowed square footage of tiny homes to exclude lofts, and the council asked staff to come back with regulations reflecting that request. Council members also asked the city’s planning commission to reconsider Monterey Street building heights in connection to the future construction of affordable and workforce housing.
Here are a handful of residents addressing city officials during the public comment period on August 21, edited for time and clarity: