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City of SLO looking to build hundreds of new downtown housing units

downtown slo sidewalk.PNG
San Luis Obispo
Posted at 5:09 AM, Jan 27, 2023

Some changes could be coming to Downtown San Luis Obispo in the coming years.

The City of San Luis Obispo wants more people to live in the downtown area and they’re asking the public to weigh in.

“Downtown is a neighborhood, it’s important to have residents living in our downtown core and create more options there,” said Community Services Director Michael Codron.

Downtown SLO is mostly geared toward visitors and tourists, but the city wants to make it more of a place to live.

“There are a lot of young professionals out there who are living two and three to a house who would love to have their own place downtown,” said SLO Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Dantona.

The city wants to add at least 500 new studios or one-bedroom apartments to the downtown area.

“This is one of many solutions to address the need for affordable housing,” adds Codron.

The flexible density ordinance would eliminate density standards for units smaller than 600 square feet.

It could also reduce the parking requirement to one space for every two units with the goal of creating 500 new housing units.

“In order to support additional commercial, retail, restaurants, the nightlife you have in an exciting downtown, you have to have folks living around there,” explained Dantona.

The SLO Chamber of Commerce says businesses will stay open later if there are more people living downtown.

“Whether it’s hours of operation or types of retail or commercial establishments, all that changes as we grow the downtown living scene,” said Dantona.

There will also be more options and different services geared toward people living within walking distance.

“One of the things that always comes up in our conversations around living downtown is where do you get groceries? There isn’t really a grocery store, and it starts to become a chicken and egg discussion of when does a grocery store open and do you need residents to do it?”

The public is invited to weigh in on the draft proposal through an online survey open through February 13th.

The public will also have the opportunity to weigh in at future city council meetings.