It is time to support new housing opportunities in SLO County

October 23, 2023

REACH housing opportunity map

Opinion by REACH Housing Advocacy Team

Open letter  to San Luis Obispo County Supervisors, mayors, council members, planning commissioners, and all interested in creating more opportunities for housing:

SLO County’s persistent housing shortage has become a fundamental threat to our community’s livelihood. Businesses can’t hire, workers can’t afford to live here, and our economy can’t sustain our way of life.

As members of the housing advocacy team and partners that supported development of the new Housing and Infrastructure Regional Framework, we believe that swift leadership to create more housing is an economic imperative.

We applaud the regional coordination of SLOCOG, the county and the seven cities in developing new strategies and tools to counteract the overwhelming challenges we face — and we urge you to take action now to approve and move forward on housing of all types and in all stages of development.

Decades of inaction have compounded the housing shortage and thwarted our ability to grow and thrive. As we look at our region’s project pipeline it is essential that we resist the tendency to delay or deny the housing we need.

We must work urgently at every stage to build the homes and neighborhoods that our teachers, public servants, service workers, nurses and doctors, small business owners and beyond desperately need — moving projects through the planning pipeline more quickly and approving them without delay. Not in two years. Not in 5fiveyears. Today.

Immediate opportunities for action

Before us right now and in the months ahead are housing projects such as the Dana Reserve in Nipomo, Margarita Area in SLO and North Chandler Ranch in Paso Robles that will create homes for thousands of families and begin to bridge the huge housing gap straining every facet of our community and economy

Regional planning shows potential to activate the creation of 15,714 homes and apartments across SLO County. And we have the foundation for action.

SLO County, the seven cities and SLOCOG set the stage with the 2020 Regional Compact, a shared commitment to developing the housing and infrastructure needed to support the economy. Earlier this year, more than 100 private and public sector stakeholders worked collaboratively over the course of 52 meetings to develop the next major milestone: the Housing and Infrastructure Regional Framework, a planning tool that aligns regional priorities around proposed projects and opportunities.

What’s needed now

We have the plan and tools to do the job. Each community has a role and responsibility, spanning the government leaders who are indispensable in making housing a reality to the community members needed to champion it. And region-wide collaboration will be essential to measure our progress, share best practices, and mobilize resources toward housing and supporting infrastructure.

Local government leaders should revisit policies such as density limits and parking requirements, streamline review processes and move on infrastructure projects to unlock longer-term housing opportunities.

Community members have a critical role to play in voicing support by showing up in the public square to ensure we collectively stay true to the north star of creating more housing that’s attainable for our residents and supports our community’s future.

We have the organizations and partners committed to supporting and advancing this vital community dialogue. We have a new framework and tools to leverage and a foundation of collaboration to channel our efforts efficiently and effectively.

The time is now. Let’s respond with unity, urgency, and unwavering determination to secure a bright future for all.

REACH is a Regional Economic Action Coalition uniting public, private and civic leaders across the Central Coast of California. The housing advisory team includes: Scott Collins, executive director Housing Authority of SLO; Jeff Eckles, CEO San Luis Obispo Housing Trust Fund; Lenny Grant, BD&C co-chair and principal architect RRM Design Group; Kathy McCorry, CEO South County Chambers of Commerce; Krista Jeffries, lead organizer SLO County YIMBY; Jocelyn Brennan SLO County Realtors 31 government affairs director; Ken Trigueiro, CEO People’s Self-Help Housing; Jim Dantona, CEO SLO Chamber of Commerce; Nick Rasmussen, chief executive officer Habitat for Humanity; Lindy Hatcher, xecutive director Home Builders Association; Chuck Davison, CEO Visit SLO CAL; Steve Delmartini, broker and Melissa James, CEO REACH.


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There is a housing shortage because everyone wants to live here. In early 2022 houses were selling for above the listed price. Sad to say but the cost of living here is only going up. Over crowding is not the answer but unfortunately its the reality.