Plans to build a 3,430-acre housing development in the North County moved forward during a Feb. 26 special joint meeting of the Atascadero City Council and Planning Commission. City officials directed staff to begin preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the latest edition of Eagle Ranch.
Billed as environmentally friendly by developers Greg and Jeff Smith, the project would convert agricultural land into a low-density development consisting of 494 single-family and 93 multifamily residences. Eagle Ranch would also include a 15,000-square-foot retail center, a 10.7-acre public park, and a 100-room resort hotel. All of this proposed development would wind around roughly 2,500 acres of open space protected by conservation easement.
Plans to develop Eagle Ranch date back almost a decade. Neighbors of the proposed development who spoke at the meeting voiced many of the same concerns that have surrounded the project since its inception. Locals fear Eagle Ranch will increase traffic, change the rural character of the neighborhood, and strain evacuation routes in the event of a major wildfire.
Atascadero city staff will examine these issues in the EIR, which the City Council will then consider before deciding the project’s fate.
Eagle Ranch currently lies within San Luis Obispo County between the city limits of Atascadero and the boundaries of the Los Padres National Forest. Development plans call for Atascadero to annex the entire project site. The split of property tax revenues between the two governments could prove the critical factor in Atascadero’s decision over whether to expand.