The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors has clearly articulated (twice) that housing is a priority and they are continuing to move forward with policies to address the shortage.

On May 16, the County Administrative Office introduced a $590 million budget for fiscal year 2017-18, and in it county staff is asking for funding to study a number of opportunities to increase housing options.

These studies include looking into the current General Plan and Land Use Ordinance for policies that limit the creation of new housing, an analysis of where additional housing could be built, and what it would look like if the county allowed more accessory dwelling units, commonly known as granny units.

Last October, in partnership with the Economic Vitality Corporation and the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast, the Chamber submitted a housing policy solutions report to the county. The report identified several key policy solutions designed to help open the door to new housing options.

Of the seven solutions included in the “Housing Policy Solutions” report two are included in the recommended budget and many others will be moving forward later this year.

In order to find places where more housing could be created throughout the county, staff is recommending $500,000 to fund a study that would identify the areas that face the largest constraints, such as lack of water and infrastructure, or existing land use regulations, as well as what locations are best suited to build additional housing.

Additionally, county staff is asking for $250,000 to look into opportunities to allow Accessory Dwelling units, also known as granny units, within certain residential zones in unincorporated areas, ultimately looking to reduce costs and remove barriers for additional rental housing in our community.

The 30-page “Housing Policy Solutions” document laid out potential policies aimed at addressing the need for more housing, and was included in the “Affordable Housing – Policies and Programs” staff report that was presented to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on October 4.

“It’s going to be a multi-year process to start to bring more housing to San Luis Obispo County, but having the report included was a major step forward,” said SLO Chamber President and CEO Ermina Karim.

The SLO Chamber will continue to work with our regional partners to advocate on behalf of the business community as well as the residents of the county for housing policy reforms, financing mechanisms for infrastructure, and increased certainty through the planning and development processes, in order to unlock opportunities for the creation of more housing.