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San Luis Obispo County, California


Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Projects

The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) has awarded a $399,000 Sustainable Communities planning grant to the County. The grant allocates funds for nine technical studies and planning projects related to strategic growth. Work on the grant projects began in late 2011.

The Sustainable Community Grant Projects

Complete Communities Research Survey

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Completion Date:  March, 2014.  The Board of Supervisors received the final results of the Complete Community Survey on October 7, 2014.
  3. Description: Identify what infrastructure and public facilities will be needed in the future in San Miguel, Templeton, Oceano, and Nipomo; how much they will cost; and how to fund them. Examples of infrastructure and public facilities are water, sewer and drainage systems; roads; sidewalks; trails; parks; and public buildings. This study will help the County and the community services districts plan for improvements to the communities.
  4. What's Available:  Read the following documents:
  5. Contact: The project manager is Brian Pedrotti, 788-2788.

Infill Subdivision/Development Standards

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Description: Improve development guidelines and standards to encourage high quality infill development that fits in with existing neighborhoods. Encourage investment in communities by removing regulatory barriers and creating incentives for such development.
  3. What's Available: Read the Infill Standards Background Report and Great CommunitiesToolkit.
  4. Contact: The project manager is Jay Johnson, 781-4573

Community Design Model

  1. Status: Completed 
  2. Description: Create a computer model that will rapidly calculate the effects of different land use and growth scenarios on population, employment, water demand, transportation and public facilities demands, greenhouse gas emissions, and numerous other “indicators.” 
  3. What’s Available: See an overview of the project in the video below. 
  4. Contact: The project manager is Jeff Legato, 781-5102

Illustrative Design Model

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Description: Create photo-simulations and computer-simulated “virtual tours” of compact development projects and neighborhoods that include a variety of housing types. This will illustrate how such projects and neighborhoods can be designed to be compatible with local neighborhoods and consistent with strategic growth policies.
  3. Description: Create photo-simulations and a computer-simulated “virtual tour” of a conceptual compact neighborhood that includes a variety of housing types. This will illustrate how projects and expansions of existing communities can be designed to be compatible with local neighborhoods and consistent with strategic growth policies.
  4. What’s Available: See an overview of a community expansion concept in the video below.
  5. Contact: The project manager is Mike Wulkan, 781-5608

Land Use Economics Study

  1. Status: Completed.  Read the Land Use Economics Study and Appendices.
  2. Description: : This study evaluated the economic, real estate, and fiscal effects of potential growth limitations in rural areas, compared to the effects of continuing the “business as usual” growth trend. The purpose of the study was to provide important information that can be used when considering implementation of the County’s strategic growth principles and policies that are intended to
    • Maintain rural areas in agriculture, low-intensity recreation, very low-density residential uses, and open space uses to preserve and enhance a well-defined rural character
    • Accommodate most future development within existing and strategically planned cities and communities.
  3. Results:  The study concluded that the two hypothetical rural growth caps evaluated would shift a portion of new rural development to county urban and village areas and to cities. This shift is intended to result in benefits such as preservation of natural and agricultural areas, greater agricultural output, lower automobile emissions, protection of groundwater resources, and reduced costs to provide services such as fire protection in rural areas.

    The study estimated that the “modest” growth cap would lead to a lost value of residential construction in the county as a whole, over a 30-year period, in the range of $300 to $400 million (an annual average of about $10 to $13 million) due to the construction of fewer new housing units in rural areas of the county. This would result in a decrease of about 2 percent in residential construction output in the county, and is about 0.05 percent of the county’s annual economic output. The study estimated that an annual loss of $10 million in residential construction value means about a $20 million annual loss to county output, about one-tenth of 1% of the county’s $20 billion dollar annual economy.

    The relatively small impact on the regional economy in the aggregate does not mean that there would not be some relatively big impacts on certain businesses or individuals. The groups most directly affected would be those that make their living by producing and selling housing: developers, builders, and realtors. If the effects are concentrated in some areas, it could make business difficult for some builders; some might close.
  4. Public Involvement: The County’s consultant met with and interviewed private sector experts representing a broad range of economic interests, as well as experts from the public sector. The consultant also conducted additional interviews with business and environmental interests. In addition the County sponsored a community open house on April 25, 2012 to get public feedback on the study’s preliminary findings. On July 17, the consultant presented the study’s findings at a Board of Supervisors meeting.
  5. Contact: The project manager is Airlin Singewald, 781-5198

Technical Studies for San Miguel Community Plan Update

  1. Status: Economic strategy and water study completed
  2. Estimated Completion: Transportation study: late 2013, public facilities financing plan: early 2014
  3. Description: The San Miguel Community Plan will be an example of how a community plan can implement the County’s strategic growth policies and SLOCOG’s Sustainable Communities Strategy. In this case, relevant strategic growth policies include giving high priority to funding needed infrastructure and avoiding the use of public resources, services and facilities beyond their renewable capacities. The following studies will be essential in updating the Community Plan and preparing its Environmental Impact Report: 1) an economic strategy, 2) a public facilities financing plan, 3) a transportation study, and 4) a water study.
  4. Public Involvement: Public input will be encouraged as part of the review of the San Miguel Community Plan.
  5. Contact: The project manager is Michael Conger, 781-5136


The Strategic Growth-related studies and projects will provide the information, tools and recommendations to help implement the County’s strategic growth policies. For example, the studies will help create strategically planned communities through updates of community plans and revisions to ordinances. As a result, strategic growth will be tailored to local conditions and public preferences.