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San Luis Obispo County, California


Strategic Growth and Resource Management

Strategic Growth

Strategic Plan

The purpose of Strategic Growth principles and policies is to better define and focus the county's pro-active planning approach and balance environmental, economic, and social equity concerns. Strategic growth is an efficient and environmentally sensitive pattern of development that provides people with additional travel, housing and employment choices. It focuses future growth away from rural areas with limited resources, closer to existing and planned job centers and public facilities, where resources necessary for development are already available.


More specifically, strategically planned communities are urban or village areas with the following characteristics:

  • Adequate resources, services and facilities for long-term growth (20 years),
  • Inter-connected street systems, bicycle and pedestrian ways, 
  • Neighborhood areas that can accommodate a variety of housing types that are affordable
  • to all income groups, which are located close to focal points serving daily needs,
  • Adequate areas for commerce, employment, education, recreation, civic and social life.

Read the principles, policies and implementation measures contained the County's General Plan relative to Strategic Growth, and Economic Effects of Strategic Growth Principles to learn more.


Find out about the proposed strategies in a brief overview.

Watch two videos about strategic growth planning by Cal Poly graduate students:

To learn more about Strategic (or Smart) Growth, visit these websites:


Priority Processing for Strategic Growth Projects

Strategic growth is a version of the national movement called “smart growth.”  Good news for "Smart Growth" development projects!  We've initiated priority processing for land development or subdivisions that include features attributed to Smart Growth principles. Projects that score a certain amount of points on a checklist of criteria could qualify for quicker review and save months in the time it takes to process applications.  Download the Strategic Growth Criteria for Development Projects Checklist.  If you have questions or would like to have your proposed project reviewed for possible priority processing, please contact Nancy Orton at 781-5008.

Sustainable Communities Planning Grant

The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) has awarded a $399,000 Sustainable Communities Planning Grant to the County. The grant allocates funds for six technical studies and planning projects related to strategic growth. Read more about each of the Sustainable Communities Grant Projects.  

Resource Management System and Resource Summary Report

The 2014 - 2016 Resource Summary Report (RSR) of the Resource Management System (RMS) is now available.

The Resource Management System (RMS) focuses on collecting data in order to avoid and correct resource deficiencies with regard to five essential resources: water supply, sewage disposal, schools, roads, and air quality. This information is compiled every two years in Biennial Resource Summary Report (RSR) that guides decisions about balancing development with the resources necessary to sustain such development. It focuses on collecting data, identifying resource problems, and recommending solutions. The RMS contains “triggers” to implement certain actions such as conservation or construction measures to avoid or correct resource deficiencies. These triggers are designated as Levels of Severity I, II and III, and are tied to generalized time frames to construct improvements or to enhance declining resources. The Resource Management System is explained in more detail in the Land Use Element – Framework for Planning, Chapter 3 .

Growth Management Ordinance

The County adopted a Growth Management Ordinance (GMO) in 1990 to set appropriate rates of residential growth within unincorporated communities and rural areas that can be supported by resources and facilities. The GMO works with the Resource Management System (RMS), which determines the ‘lead time’ needed to avoid resource shortages and improve streets and infrastructure.  Read about growth management and how it affects you

Energy Stimulus Funding (EECBG)

The County has been awarded an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block grant (EECBG) though the US Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The total grant amount of $2,053,600 will be used in a variety of ways to increase energy efficiency in the county.

The General Services Agency will use approximately half the award to retrofit HVAC, and indoor and outdoor lighting at County facilities. The Public Works Department will complete the key link in the Templeton-Paso Robles bike lane system and will also replace streetlights with low-energy- using LED lighting.

The Department of Planning and Building will complete a Climate Action Plan (CAP), the County’s blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Department will also prepare a Green Building Ordinance to improve energy efficiency in new and existing development.

Both the construction-related projects and the planning efforts will commence in 2010 and will be completed within 36 months.

For more information, read the June 9, 2009 staff report to the Board of Supervisors on the EECBG application. The report describes the projects to be funded by the grant.