Where should homeless go in new draft of SLO?



New portions of the city of SLO will be named as potential sites for homeless shelters under a draft of the revised housing element for the General Plan passed by the City Council May 19. The document deals mainly with outlining the location, type, and amount of housing development in the city, including zoning, housing density, and potential for annexation.

Although the city completed an overhaul of the housing element in 2004, it required changes to be compliant with new state mandates. Staff considered many of the changes to be minor.
Much of the discussion focused on inclusionary housing, low-income housing options, and homelessness, including the creation of homeless shelter zoning areas that could expedite the process of gaining a new shelter if one were proposed. Council members focused on creative re-use of existing buildings, such as new uses for the former Pacheco school campus.

They also addressed the possibility of rezoning for housing near the site of the old General Hospital. Kim Murry, deputy director of planning for the city, said staff will be looking at possible uses for the area, but there would be no action or rezoning until the next time the housing element is updated in five years.
Staff emphasized there would be several opportunities for public input, beginning in the next two to three weeks when the draft is posted on the city’s website. The city must adopt a final version of the General Plan housing element by August 31. The next stop for the draft is with the state Department of Housing and Community Development, where it will stay during a 60-day review period. Following the state review, it will go back to the Planning Commission in early August, and then back to the City Council for final approval.

The draft will be posted on the city’s website under the “community development” heading. Comments should be directed to Kim Murry at

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