I have been attending many council meetings in Atascadero over the years and now watch them on TV.ÜOld-timers, when addressing the council, often make a point of how many years they have lived here, implying that their opinion should carry more weight than mine or other peoples’ who came here later. I was very pleased when Councilman (George) Luna pointed out that the more recent arrivals pay the higher property taxes. Councilman Luna has always listened to all the people equally and I appreciate that.
During the 2002 General Plan process and housing boom, there was a rush to add more residential property to the city at the expense of commercial and industrial, because residential was where the money deals were being made.ÜMany of those residential plans that were approved have been put on hold or are now vacant.ÜThere is obviously a need for newcomers and they should be welcomed, with their input valued as much as anyone else’s.
It is so important to maintain Atascadero’s uniqueness and quality of life so that people still want to move here and property taxes remain stable. We should not make the same mistake as old-timers did by allowing an auto wrecking yard next to the creek or putting a major highway through the center of the city or amending the General Plan at the whim of developers.
Atascadero has a unique natural beauty but the community lacks a vision.ÜIt would be sad if it became just another Wal-Mart town on the Highway 101 strip.