In 2005, the Smiths, along with RRM Design, introduced their proposal, which reflected a commitment to land preservation and a desire to keep the property true to the rural character of Atascadero while adding to the city’s vitality and livelihood. Originally subdivided by the E.G. Lewis & Company as part of the Atascadero Colony, today there are 452 existing lots that have shares in the Atascadero Mutual Water Company, like the existing colony lots.
The Smith plan entails retaining 70 percent of the property for open space, making that space accessible to the public with 16 miles of unpaved and multi-use trails, which would include an equestrian staging area, and a public park. To help offset a housing shortage and to bolster Atascadero’s economy, the plan calls for mixed housing, a village commercial center, a resort hotel and a dude ranch.
Seeing the benefits to Atascadero, the city identified the property for future city expansion in its June 2002 City General Plan Update. A new reconfigured plan the Smiths have suggested incorporates features requested by the city, including a variety of housing types, affordable housing and a highway commercial development.
The proposal includes:
The night sky will be protected by using streetlights only as required for safety at ranch intersections. There will be standards, requiring architecture, fencing and landscaping reflect a rural style. Most residences will be built on lots an acre or larger.
With so much open space preserved, cattle and sheep will remain a fixture of the landscape, as will wildlife habitat. Eagles will continue to fly and nest, while turkeys, deer and other animals roam the property. Native California trees, open grass land and creeks will dominate the look and feel of the ranch.
To offer another look at the balance, the city of Atascadero currently features 10,737 homes and 26.2 miles (or 16,800 acres) of land, or around 410 dwelling units per square mile. If the Eagle Ranch were annexed, it would add 5.5 square miles and approximately 3,500 acres of land to Atascadero– an increase of 21 percent – with an average of 7 homes per square mile. The remaining land would be permanent open space.
For a more detailed look at the Smiths’ vison for Eagle Ranch, review the following links: