On April 1, the SLO City Council unanimously decided to initiate the application processes and issue requests for proposal of an Environmental Impact Report for the San Luis Ranch Project, more commonly known as the Dalidio Ranch Project due to the property owner, Ernie Dalido.
If the project—which would include a mix of residential, commercial, open space, and a hotel and convention center—is eventually approved, it would require the city to annex about 130 acres of existing farmland (currently county-owned property) off Highway 101.
But the question of open space has already emerged as a potential sticking point if and when that project begins to solidify. Several residents urged city councilmembers to either postpone any initial action on the project, while some asked that the city not accept the destruction of existing agricultural land and what one speaker called “precious” soil.
Mayor Jan Marx seemed to agree with those speakers and said she was concerned that the project as proposed—although the current proposal is far from a final design—doesn’t include 50 percent of on-site open space, as was asked for under previously enacted city policies.
“All I’ve ever asked about any development on this property is that people play by the rules,” she said.
Marshall Ochylski, the applicant for the project, asked that the city simply initiate the process in order to begin more detailed planning and bring the project into the city, rather than forcing developers to pursue the project through the county.
“This is just the first step,” Ochylski said. “It’s an opportunity to develop this unique property within the city and not within the county.”
Other city councilmembers seemed more relaxed with the proposal and opted to withhold judgment until an actual project comes back for approval.
“So this is really the first date,” Councilman John Ashbaugh said. “This is not an engagement to be married.”