November, 2007

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When TDCs Work

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

TDC programs work well only when the residents of a designated Receiver Site are willing to accept the change in density in their area or neighborhood. That also typifies the democratic process. Otherwise, the process is a change in zoning made without the residents’ acquiescence.

Even though the adopted TDC program of San Luis Obispo County specifically states: “Support of the Community,” is necessary, violations of this Section persist.

Case in point: most recently, an area south of Atascadero was under consideration. Through an ad hoc committee, written surveys were sent to the property owners involved. More than 70 per cent responded, stating they wanted out of the TDC program; they wanted no community change.

The area has many problems for a greater population: substandard roads (unable to meet requirements of the greater traffic engendered); water shortages; drainage problems; need for septic systems and leach fields in spite of soils inadequacies; no natural gas available for new homes (propane or electric only); no city water (many on wells).

Still, the County Supervisors voted to make a significant modification to the zoning, from 2-1/2 acres to 2 acres. If everyone who could split his property did so, it would result in almost 100 new homes. Each of the Supervisors who voted for this change – against the advice of the Planning Commission – lives about 20 miles from the Receiver Site, and apparently not one of them had toured the area to see how it would be changed.

As a result, a community of acreages will undergo gradual change and greater impaction upon services and resources.

So, the question is: Is the TDC an effective vehicle to use existing land as an efficient environmental development tool?

Yes and No. Yes, if the involved area owners are in support of the process, and resources and services can support the increased density. Otherwise, the answer is an emphatic No.

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