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2018 February PASO Magazine

The Story of Us - PASO Magazine

Cognitive Dissonance:

Cognitive Dissonance: “Toilets use recycled water – do not drink,” read the sign in a public restroom. I pondered, not the sign’s unintentional humor, as my wife and I rode our bikes on, but the city of Monterey’s more hilarious notion that I might ever tempted. By Bruce Curtis Cognitive dissonance, the angst our brains experience when we can’t reconcile two conflicting beliefs, may be the best way to describe voters frustrated with whom they elect. County government, try as it may, never quite hears us; what we want, don’t want, don’t need or promise and fail to keep after years of banging our heads against the marble walls at Santa Rosa St. in San Luis Obispo. Visceral examples include the interchange at US 101 and CA 46 West, and the glacial and expensive development approval process. Most illustrative by far is the County Board of Supervisor’s preternatural success at preventing construction of affordable housing. The median price of homes hav- COUNTY PERSPECTIVE ing reached a rarified strata accessible only to retired tech entrepreneurs and big Pharma CEOs, while demand for affordable homes falls on deaf ears. Despite citizens waving real estate comps, the board decided not to change the county’s affordable housing program. That means no new funding for affordable homes, no building-permit funding to jump-start construction and no easing of the currently arcane and expensive building permit process. The affordable housing program, criticized as little more than costly window dressing, goes back to 2008, pretentiously named the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, (IHO). In ten years the project only produced 610 homes. Meant to make a path for developers to both build and help pay for affordable land, the board’s 3/2 vote means no change in the IHO. Developer fees of $3.75 per square foot were added to the program, intended to subsidize construction on affordable homes, but exceed $10,000 per new home, and that’s on top of already expensive building permit fees. And then the board bogged down over rhetoric, whether a fee is really a tax. Nobody knows, publicly at least, how many builders pulled out or canceled plans to build new homes... The irony certainly wasn’t lost on developers, who faced hundreds of thousands in additional fees, even on modest, 10-home projects. Nobody knows, publicly at least, how many builders pulled out or canceled plans to build new homes, but with supply-and-demand as inexorable as gravity, upward pressure on existing home prices is inevitable. To be fair, the 2008 recession persuaded county officials to delay the $3.75 per foot construction fee hike, stopping it at $1.50 per square foot. Developers want to end the IHO; they blame it for actually pushing home prices upward, despite good intentions. The board also ignored a housing study with recommendations, and surely the ultimate in good intentions is a government study that spends tax money to accomplish nothing. End of Eagle: Atascadero’s proposed Eagle Ranch housing project is officially dead. Developers had worked literally for decades to see the project become reality, but costs and tax bickering put the kibosh on the 590-residential unit multi-use project. Would-be developers, Jeff and Greg Smith had already given 2,000 acres of property they owned south of Atascadero as an open space easement. The expansion development, originally envisaged by city founder E.G. Lewis received significant resistance from area residents who feared traffic and construction, water use and just the change of character they believed it would bring to the city. The housing project cancelation was announced before an economic study revealed county employment had dropped to near all-time lows of 2.9%. Economist Robert Kleinhenz numbers that low mean employers are having difficulty finding workers. Diablo Delay: San Luis Obispo County is of course, faces a critical tax revenue sunset when Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant closes. Please see PERSPECTIVE page 25 22 PASO Magazine, February 2018

WHAT’S HAPPENING in Templeton this month Get involved with Almond Country Quilt Guild Almond Country Quilt Guild offers free quilting days every month at Bethel Lutheran Church, 295 Old Country Road in Templeton. All ages from the community are invited to the organizations monthly get together to sew, cut or organize their quilting projects. This month, the Community Quilts meeting will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees are invited to bring their own lunch. For more information, call Judi Stevenson at 805-431-5907 or go to Templeton Farmers’ Market Templeton Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Templeton Community Park. The market doesn’t close due to inclement weather, it only closes on Christmas Day and New By Heather Young Year’s Day if those holidays fall on Saturday. For more information, go to NorthCounty- Coffee with a CHP California Highway Patrol’s Templeton office hosts Coffee with a CHP the second Tuesday of each month at Nature’s Touch Nursery & Harvest, 225 Main St. in Templeton, at 8:30 a.m. The monthly coffee event gives locals the opportunity to interact with local law enforcement personnel on a more personal level. BINGO Templeton Lions Club holds BINGO night every Monday at the Templeton American Legion Hall at 805 S. Main St. from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. THS Drama fundraiser The Templeton High School Drama Department will hold its annual dinner, which raised money for scholarships and product support for its upcoming shows in the PAC, on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Templeton American Legion Hall, 805 S. Main St. During the dinner, cast and crew will perform entertainment from their upcoming show, “My Fair Lady.” The food will be provided by FIG. Tickets are $30 each or a table of eight for $200. For more information, call 805- 591-4770 or go to SLOFolks Concert: Joe Craven & Hattie Craven with The Sometimers SLOFolks will present Joe Craven and Hattie Craven with The Sometimers at Castoro Cellars on Saturday, Feb. 10. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 each ROUND TOWN and seating will be provided for the show. For more information, go to Templeton Women in Business The Templeton Chamber of Commerce hosts Women in Business luncheons the second Tuesday of the month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the luncheon will be held at Templeton Community Center, 601 S. Main St. Melissa Kasrajian of Kasarjian and Company will speak to the group about new tax laws for 2018. Tickets are $25 for chamber members and $30 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. For more information, call 805-434-1789 or email Please see TEMPLETON page 24 February 2018, PASO Magazine 23

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