On March 15, the San Luis Obispo City Council approved an agricultural master plan that charts out the future of the last remaining farm land within the city.
There’s only one problem: Developer Ernie Dalidio owns much of the land discussed in the report—65 acres—and his property isn’t in the city. That didn’t stop city staffers from planning to allocate half of his land that sits just off Highway 101 to open space.
Such a move isn’t unusual; city planning documents often include land that staffers believe will one day be annexed by the city. But it seems a stretch that Dalidio will want his land to become a part of those plans. SLO voters rejected his plans to develop the land in 2005, and he turned to county voters to give him the go ahead in 2006. His project was approved, but the economy tanked before he had a chance to build.
Councilman John Ashbaugh eventually voted with the 4-1 majority—Andrew Carter voted against—to approve the project, but he was clearly perturbed that the plan included a large chunk of land the city is unlikely to get its hands on.
Dalidio, who wasn’t consulted for the plan, wrote to city staff saying it was overreaching by planning to utilize his land when he had no interest in having his property be part of the city.
Natural Resources Manager Neil Havlik wrote back to Dalidio that the “Master Plan notes that its effect on the Dalidio property only occurs if and when that property is annexed in the city” and pointed out that the “planning process was advertised several times in the local newspaper in 2009 and early 2010.”