UPDATE: Atascadero city council approves downtown zoning ordinan - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

UPDATE: Atascadero city council approves downtown zoning ordinance

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UPDATE (10:30 p.m.) - The Atascadero City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a new zoning ordinance that will change the face of downtown.

Under the ordinance, ground-floor residential use is prohibited in downtown buildings and any new offices will require a public hearing process.

City leaders are hoping to have fewer doctors and dentists downtown and more shops and restaurants.

Tuesday marked the ordinance's first reading. The second reading is set for the council's next meeting.

Here are some of the city's plans:

ORIGINAL STORY - The City of Atascadero is looking to make changes to its downtown and officials want the public's input.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to attend Tuesday night’s city council meeting to share their ideas for the downtown area.

A beautiful water fountain, green grass, and enjoyable walking paths attract many locals to downtown Atascadero, but they say they wish there was more to offer.

“We don’t have many shops around here so I am for getting more business or shops or expanding the downtown area,” said Deborah Fryer, Atascadero resident.

Atascadero city officials say they, too, would like to see change.

“More foot traffic, more pedestrian circulation, more of what the community wants in a downtown,” explained Phil Dunsmore, Atascadero Community Development Director.

At Tuesday’s meeting, they will discuss ways to encourage more business owners to open up shops and restaurants.

“I’m always in favor of downtown improvement feeling. It gives the town a cohesiveness,” said LeAnn Reed, Atascadero resident.

Currently, most buildings downtown are being occupied by medical offices. The city wants to see less of those.

“Tonight on the table is an amendment to our zoning,” Dunsmore added.

The city council could pass an ordinance Tuesday night to amend the zoning and make ground floor residential uses prohibited.

Also, if approved, any new offices would require a public hearing process.

“In other words, the city could make a decision as to whether to allow that ground floor use or not and it would have to put in place specific conditions if they were going to allow that use on the ground,” Dunsmore explained.

The downtown area is used for many local events such as the farmers market, which brings in a lot of foot traffic. That is why the city is pushing for the change soon.

For those who would like to help determine the downtown’s future, Tuesday night’s meeting will start at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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