If all goes as planned, San Luis Obispo city officials will soon begin on-the-ground work toward the long-planned efforts to revitalize the desolate patch of land known as the San Luis Obispo Tank Farm—but they’ll deal with the money later.
On May 28, as New Times was going to press, SLO planning commissioners were scheduled to review the final Environmental Impact Report for the Airport Area Specific Plan, one of the final steps necessary to begin remediation work on Chevron’s 332-acre property. If approved by planning commissioners, the EIR will go to the SLO City Council for approval; the council is tentatively scheduled to address the issue on Sept. 2. From there, it will go to county officials for final approval, after which Chevron will begin work to clean up an area that has long sat vacant and inaccessible in part because of leftover oil from previous operations. The remediation phase is expected to take about two to three years, with work likely beginning next year.
Though the property is currently part of the county, city officials are heading the process to revitalize the area with hopes that it will eventually be annexed into SLO city.
There are further plans to develop the area with such improvements as public open space and baseball fields, though the funding is still an issue. According to SLO Senior Planner Phil Dunsmore, the project estimate is $23.9 million to build out infrastructure, including road improvements, storm drainage, bike paths, and more. City officials are still working out a cost-sharing agreement with Chevron, and Dunsmore said the city has been in ongoing discussions.
“Essentially this has turned out to be a complex sort of problem for the project,” Dunsmore said.