Can a "Rare Slice of California" Stave Off Sprawl?

San Luis Obispo County, along California's Central Coast, is at a crossroads. Will it go the way of Orange County and succumb to development pressures or will it follow Napa and Ventura Counties and protect its rural lands from exurban sprawl.

"Though pundits declare that suburban sprawl has hit the wall in California, as younger people and empty-nesters finally embrace multi-family housing in transit-rich urban centers, exurban sprawl continues in many of the state’s rural areas, particularly where retirees have been moving, such as the Sierra Foothills and the Central Coast," observes Christopher VerPlanck.

"With its year-round temperate climate, idyllic landscapes of rolling oak-studded hills, and friendly people, SLO County is what much of Southern California was like before being overrun by suburban development after World War II. The decisions it makes now will either stop the bulldozer’s march or hasten it."

What's at stake in this "rare slice of California" that, for the time-being, remains predominantly agricultural?

"What remains of California’s natural and rural beauty must be cared for and stewarded for future generations," argues VerPlanck. "What’s needed now is rational statewide land-use planning that can both identify and protect vulnerable regions like rural SLO County and designate the towns and cities that can sustain it for denser development."



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