Your Questions Answered about the Eagle Ranch Project

A number of questions have been asked about plans for Eagle Ranch – some raised in the course of presentations and neighborhood meetings and others at city workshops about the project. We have attempted to address the bulk of the inquiries received and have grouped them by topic area. Note that general information about project plans, number of units, commercial development, etc. is located on this website and information is also posted on the City of Atascadero’s website.

Please contact City of Atascadero Associate Planner Callie Taylor if additional assistance is needed.

Will Eagle Ranch change the area’s rural character?

Preserving Atascadero’s rural character is central to the Eagle Ranch plan. Our goal is to protect approximately 70 percent of the 3,490-acre site in permanent open space. There is no single-family lot size smaller than ½ acre. Most of the lots are 1 acre or larger. At the request of homeowners, lot sizes along the perimeter of Eagle Ranch have been designed to meet the sizes or frontage widths of existing lots in many cases. The night sky will be protected by using streetlights only as required for safety at intersections within the ranch.  Unlike the original E.G. Lewis plan and existing lot configuration which provide almost no open space, the Eagle Ranch proposal will permanently preserve 70 percent of the property as open space. There will be design standards requiring architecture, fencing and landscaping to reflect a rural style. Streets have been designed without concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks to fit into Atascadero’s existing rural character.

Are farm animals allowed on the lots?

Farm animals may be allowed on one-acre-or-larger Eagle Ranch lots. Onsite farm animals will be subject to city regulations, Eagle Ranch Specific Plan guidelines, Eagle Ranch Homeowners Association rules and project CCRs.

How does the plan for Eagle Ranch fit into the existing look and feel of the area?

The Eagle Ranch project plan has been revised several times in conjunction with meetings with adjacent neighbors. The majority of those discussions centered on establishing compatible lots sizes at the edges of the Eagle Ranch project. Because of these discussions, the overall density of the project has been significantly reduced and larger lot sizes incorporated into the project. Most of the proposed Eagle Ranch lots are between 1.5 to 5 acres in size, compatible with the surrounding areas. In addition, most of the lots on Eagle Ranch will have surrounding open space. Clustering the development and retaining large open spaces as opposed to spreading development over all the land will enhance the rural character and feel of Eagle Ranch and the neighboring areas. Eagle Ranch will continue to have agricultural operations on portions of the open space, and the presence of cattle will still be a feature of the rural character.

What project amenities will be accessible to neighbors?

The project as proposed includes 800 acres of publicly accessible open space with an extensive trail system connecting to existing neighborhoods at select locations. There are proposed unpaved equestrian trails as well as well as paved trails for bicyclists and pedestrians. There is a public equestrian staging/parking area provided. There is also a proposed trail easement included providing an access route from the ALPS conservation area across Eagle Ranch to the National Forest boundary. The Village area contains 7.4 acres identified as a public park area for passive recreation. The Village area can be reached from the public trail systems.

Will there be covenants, codes and restrictions (CC&Rs) at Eagle Ranch?

CC&Rs will be in place and will include architectural standards.

How will the development affect property values?

Property values within Eagle Ranch are expected to be similar to or higher than those of adjacent residential areas. Eagle Ranch will be one of the highest quality neighborhoods in Atascadero and San Luis Obispo County, and will serve to elevate values of the areas around it. CC&Rs enforced by the homeowners association will ensure consistent high quality and standards throughout the project.

Will the project create flooding problems and increase storm runoff?

State law prohibits a development project from increasing storm run-off beyond the pre-development level.

Who supplies and delivers water?

Water supply and delivery will be provided by Atascadero Mutual Water Company (AMWC). AMWC has planned for development of Eagle Ranch for many years. AMWC officials have reviewed the preliminary project design and issued a “will-serve” letter for Eagle Ranch. Portions of the project such as the proposed Village Center will be served by city sewer. Other areas will utilize septic systems that meet the city’s septic system criteria. All of these issues (and others) are reviewed in the EIR.

Who will maintain nearby offsite roads?

Streets inside of Eagle Ranch will be open to the public but maintained at the Eagle Ranch homeowners’ expense. Offsite roads are public roads maintained by the city. Eagle Ranch residents, in the same manner as other existing residents of the city.  Eagle Ranch will construct frontage improvements where the Ranch abuts existing city streets as required by the city.

What types of utilities will be brought to the site? Can neighbors hook up to new utility lines?

All proposed new utilities on Eagle Ranch will be underground. Extension of utilities (such as natural gas) to the Ranch is determined by the ability of providers to serve the area based partially upon the presence or absence of existing services nearby.

What is the timing of the far west trail connection to the National Forest?

The offer of an easement for this trail is expected to be coordinated with the extension of the trail on the Atascadero Land Preservation Society (ALPS) property. Construction of the trail will be completed by volunteer, non-governmental agencies and coordinated by the U.S. Forest Service.

Who pays to maintain trails?

Publicly accessible trails built by the Eagle Ranch project (with the exception of the National Forest trail built by volunteer, non-governmental agencies) will be maintained by the Eagle Ranch Homeowners Association.

Will there be dedicated mountain bike trails?

No, however mountain bikers may be allowed to use the unpaved trails, subject to certain rules and provided use does not extend into off limits areas.

Is the Land Conservancy open space part of the project?

In 2016, the Smith Family made a gift to the Land Conservancy of SLO County of a permanent open space easement over 3,255 acres of ranchland. The gifted easement is not connected to the proposed Eagle Ranch annexation or Eagle Ranch project. The Land Conservancy oversees the easement.

How will the proposed commercial development affect downtown and other retail areas?

The proposed Village commercial area is small scale (max 15,000 square feet) and intended only to serve the project residents’ daily needs. The Village may contain uses such a small grocery/deli, mailboxes for Eagle Ranch residents, meeting spaces, small rental offices, HOA office, etc. This area is envisioned to be similar in scale to the small commercial area at Avila Village along the Bob Jones trail in Avila Beach.

Why not develop in the county? Why is the proposal exceeding the current 452 lot design of E.G. Lewis?

The City’s adopted General Plan and the County General Plan encourages areas like Eagle Ranch to be annexed by adjoining cities. The Eagle Ranch development has been in the city’s General Plan since 2002. The property has been identified as an intended annexation area, with the city controlling development through the use of a Specific Plan. Development of Eagle Ranch in the county would not provide +/- 70 percent permanent open space preservation, publicly accessible trails, continuing agriculture operations, a Village Center, a 7-acre public park or fire protection service. The city and nearby residents would have all the impacts of the proposed project with none of the benefits.

The proposed plan is the result of an agreement between San Luis Obispo County, City of Atascadero, LAFCO and the Smith Family to develop a clustered development within the city as a means of reducing project impacts.  The proposed project represents good planning principles. The two proposed hotels are an opportunity for Eagle Ranch to contribute to the overall economic health of the city. Growth of tourism in Atascadero is a major economic development goal of the city. If constructed, the hotels will contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the city’s revenue, enhancing the city’s ability to provide community services including parks and zoo maintenance, library facilities, street repairs and police and fire.