SLO Planning commissioner ousted after voicing concerns

January 15, 2018

Scott Mann

Months after casting the lone dissenting vote against the planned Avila Ranch development, a member of the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission was asked to resign by two SLO City Council members. [Cal Coast Times]

Scott Mann, a project manager with a local architecture firm that focuses on sustainable building, served eight months on the SLO Planning Commission prior to resigning in mid-November. Mann said council members Carlyn Christianson and Dan Rivoire forced him to resign. Christianson and Rivoire serve as the council’s liaisons to the planning commission.

The Avila Ranch project, is a planned 720-home development on a 150-acre site near the San Luis Obispo airport. City officials have for years pushed for the project to be approved despite regulatory hurdles related to its proximity to the airport and other neighborhood and environmental concerns.

As a planning commissioner, Mann expressed concern about the project’s environmental and neighborhood impacts, including potential air quality impacts due to the adjacent airport runway and a nearby concrete manufacturing plant. Mann also expressed dissatisfaction with the mixture of bicycle, pedestrian and industrial traffic the project is expected to create.

After being asked to resign by Christianson and Rivoire and failing to garner support from fellow Planning Commissioner John Fowler, Mann decided to resign, saying he feared his reputation could be damaged if the decision on his removal was left to a planning commission meeting.

Christianson and Rivoire reportedly said the request that Mann resign was not related to a specific project, nor was it personal. But Christianson said Mann wanted the Avila Ranch project changed, and he was struggling to remain within his purview and was not generally upholding the city’s general plan. The councilwoman also said Mann was seeking to set new city policy, rather than sticking to his job of interpreting existing policy.

However, Mann said he was not being political. He said he did not believe the Avila Ranch project met CEQA guidelines, nor did it contain infrastructure and service support that aided the city’s implementation of its general plan.

Retired SLO County planner Mike Wulkan has replaced Mann on the city planning commission. Wulkan participated in his first meeting last week.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Well there’s your problem, Mr. Mann works for an architecture firm that focuses on “sustainable” building. The Progressives don’t gice a good God damn about sustainability unless it means they can use it as an excuse to impose more fees and restrictions upon the citizens. This project means more property tax dollars to feed bloated pensions and to keep paying SLO’s city Manager and city Attorney more than California’s Governor or the Vice President of the United States. CEQUA be dammned too. Enviromental laws and restrictions only apply when money and control can be obtained through them. These are you Progressive enviromental “heroes” at work folks. I really hope those of you who voted for them, are damn proud of them right now.

The English language certainly changes with usage, who would of that Progressives now means “S***heads”.

You, sir, do not appear to have much familiarity with the English language or decent manners, for that matter.

This is so wrong. Scott brought a breath of fresh air to that awful commission. For Rivoire and Christianson to fire him because he wasn’t a sycophant is disgusting. Shouldn’t we have thoughtful independent thinkers on our commissions, not rubber stamps for the autocrats’ dumb agendas? Isn’t that exchange of ideas how we get better government, not the farce we have today at slo city? Rivoire and Christianson are up for election in November. Lets fire both of them.

So if the Avila Ranch houses are so close to the airport, does that mean they will actually be affordably priced?… Bwahahahaha! Sorry couldn’t keep myself from laughing at that one.

Me thinks the council people owe the citizenry an explanation as to why this fellow was ousted. And who do these two think they are to even ask him to resign, absent a closed session discussion or collusionary meetings among the council people, a little serial meeting via email perhaps, or a flat out Brown Act violation? How do these two know their play would be backed up by a majority of the council? Hmmm?

what are the traffic mitigation plans for avila ranch – the traffic on buckley is horrendous already, add the vachell/south higuera intersection and the entire area will be screwed – if those were part of the concerns of mr mann, he’s spot on –

You can tell when the liberals are in charge, they replace their mantra of rational environmental questions with promote the commy growth to fund their commy pensions. Also, you won’t hear them bad mouthing corporations anymore i.e. The Incorporated City of San Luis Obispo.

Kind of sounds similar to the Eagle Ranch project in Atascadero. The city staff, city manager, planning commisssion and city council all appeared to start putting the project thru the “approval” process. But then a group of citizens questioned the validity of the EIR that the city helped the developer put together and numerous flaws were discovered within the document. Consequently once that the EIR was challenged the defects of the project were disclosed and it became dead in the water.

Sounds like Mr. Mann did his job conscientiously, applying his knowledge and skills and asking the right questions. Based on my experience, the Avila Ranch project was rigged from the start. SLO Council members also tried to get rid of Airport Use Commissioners who, with an abundance of experience, said it was unsafe to put a housing project there. Sad for the victims who buy those homes.