The Atascadero City Council held its first hybrid meeting on Monday, taking place in the council chambers and also broadcasting live on Facebook.
The first annual report on Measure D-20 was given to the City Council.
ATASCADERO – Atascadero City Council convened for their regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10, after a closed session with nothing to report.
All other Councilmembers were in Chambers for the first time since last year, save Mayor Heather Moreno, who attended via Zoom.
The agenda was approved unanimously at the start of the meeting.
We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero
Item A-3, the voting delegate for Atascadero at the League of Cities Annual Conference, was removed from the consent schedule to be voted on individually. The consent calendar, excluding item A-3, was unanimously accepted.
Item A-3 was addressed, and due to possible schedule issues, the voting delegate was changed from Councilmember Susan Funk to Councilmember Mark Dariz. The issue was then unanimously adopted.
Rachelle Rickard, the City Manager, provided the following updates to the Council:
- With both in-person and virtual participants, this City Council meeting commemorates the Council’s return to Council Chambers.
- Rickard pointed out several new murals and businesses downtown, including the “Block Shops,” which include Negranti Creamery, Stellar + Sun Hat Co., and Ancient Owl Beer Gardens and Bottle Shoppe; Supremo Meat Market, Specs by Kyla Boutique Eyewear, and BB’s Fashion Boutique; and Supremo Meat Market, Specs by Kyla Boutique Eyewear, and BB’s Fashion Boutique.
- The JD Project will play at the Atascadero Lake Park Bandstand on Saturday, Aug. 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., as part of the Summer Concert Series.
- Raya and the Last Dragon (PG) will be shown at Sunken Gardens on Saturday, August 14 from 8 to 11 p.m. as part of Movies in the Garden.
- The 28th Annual Hot El Camino Cruise Nite will take place on Friday, August 20 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., followed by the 5th Annual Dancing in the Streets on Saturday, August 21 from 5 to 9:00 p.m.
- The Ravine Waterpark in Paso Robles will host the 5th Annual Atascadero Cornhole Tournament on September 17 and 18. The Boys & Girls Club and Boy Scout Troop 51 will profit from the proceeds.
- Visitatascadero.com lists all upcoming events in Atascadero.
After then, the Community Forum was available to the whole public.
“Unfortunately, our Police Department lost a K-9 last week,” Geoff Auslen said, referring to Pit von de Kreuzwiese, or “Pit,” who had served the Atascadero community since 2015. Auslen stated that the Atascadero Grocery Outlet, Kate and Geoff Auslen, the Kiwanis Club, and the Elks Lodge are working together to raise funds to welcome a new K-9 into the department. Donations should be sent to the Atascadero Police Department, with a note indicating that they should be allocated towards “APD K-9.”
The results of the 11th Annual Kiwanis Mayor’s Winemaker Dinner, which collected $50K for the El Camino Homeless Organization, were revealed by Tom O’Malley, President of Atascadero Kiwanis (ECHO).
Mayor Moreno and O’Malley presented the cheque to Wendy Lewis, President and CEO of ECHO, in a short video clip.
Lewis then spoke, thanking the Kiwanis Club and the Council for the “great gift.”
The Council then agreed to take a photo with Tom O’Malley, Wendy Lewis, and Geoff Auslen holding the check, which they gladly accepted.
Next, Peter Henson gave the Council a “belated gratitude” for Resolution 2020-73, which says, “Atascadero will not accept racial prejudice.” Racial covenants were removed from property deeds as a result of the decision.
“While a resolution will not be able to erase what has been done, you must stand out and say, ‘That is not who we are.’ “Congratulations.”
“I think that preventing racism out of our community is at least as essential as dealing with it if it is discovered,” he said. He then expressed his thoughts on Critical Race Theory, saying, “Can we agree that if it is racist in character, it does not belong in our educational system?”
Henson requested that the Council inquire into the views of all Atascadero Unified School District Board of Trustees on CRT and make their positions public.
Mayor Moreno emphasized that the City Council has no authority over the School District or the members of the Board of Education, but that “anyone individually is free to ask anybody individually whatever questions they want.”
The first public hearing of the evening was held to consider an appeal of a permit for auxiliary storage at a home on Cascabel Rd.
Rick Daravan had filed an appeal against his neighbor’s conditional use permit for a storage shed to be constructed five feet from his property line, claiming visual blockage of a bedroom window, noise, and altering the neighborhood’s features as grounds for the application being rejected. He also requested that the five-year permission be shortened to two years if the permit was not rejected.
Tim and Darcy Wetzler, property owners, addressed the Council, stating that their project was small in comparison to others in the neighborhood, that it was in keeping with the neighborhood’s characteristics, that it would be used to store vehicles rather than for loud activities, and that their neighbor had his own shed five feet and eight inches off his property line. Wetzler also said that although a five-year permission would be preferable, he would accept a two-year permit.
“We would want to develop our land in the same way that our neighbors have,” Tim Wetzler remarked.
“We purchased this property because it had property,” Darcy Wetzler said, “and we just ask that we be allowed to utilize our own land.”
The Council agreed with the property owners that the shed was in keeping with the neighborhood’s aesthetics and met all code requirements. The Council asked the property owners if they would agree to install vegetation screening to decrease noise and improve the neighbor’s view, and they said yes.
The permit was unanimously granted, with a two-year time limit and the requirement that the property owners install vegetative screening.
Atascadero Fire Chief Casey Bryson addressed the second public hearing of the night, which was to certify the expense of vegetative growth and waste abatement. The overall cost of weed abatement this year was $67,089.19, which was unanimously authorized by the Council.
Jeri Rangel, Director of Administrative Services, then delivered the Measure D-20 First Annual Report.
Measure D-20 received voter approval in November 2020 and went into effect in April 2021. The report will include the budgeting process as well as performance indicators, allowing taxpayers to understand what they are receiving out of the legislation they voted for.
The following items on the agenda were Council Announcements and Committee Reports.
The Atascadero Basin Ground Water Sustainability Drought Plan is now available for review and discussion at atascaderobasin.com, according to Councilmember Funk.
The San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to order their staff to begin withdrawing from the Joint Powers Agreement that sets up the integrated Waste Management Authority, according to Councilmember Charles Bourbeau. “This judgment will have an effect on the city of Atascadero as well as all the communities in the county,” Bourbeau said.
The newly updated designs for the Barell Creek Project will be discussed in a Design Review Committee meeting on Thursday, Aug. 12 at 2 p.m., according to Mayor Pro Tem Heather Newsom.
There was nothing to report from Councilmember Dariz.
Mayor Moreno stated that she attended a Regional Economic Action Coalition (REACH) meeting in late July and that Paso Robles is looking into the possibility of turning their airport into a spaceport.
Mayor Moreno also said that the City Council has looked at the possibility of commuter rail. She noted that the cost had increased and that “the price tag on it might be as high as a half a billion dollars,” concluding that commuter rail would not be coming to Atascadero anytime soon.
At 8:20 p.m., the meeting was adjourned. The Atascadero City Council’s next open session meeting is set for September 14 at 6 p.m., and the agenda will be posted on the city’s website as soon as it becomes available.
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