March Community Update

By: Brett Raffish on Mar 01, 2017 in ASI Student Government

Article Revised: Mar 07, 2017 10:18 AM

February was a month marked by extensive progress toward student-led initiatives within the City of San Luis Obispo, as well as a City-led revision of one of their controversial ordinances.

On January 28, San Luis Obispo City Council held a Community Budget Goal Setting Forum—a meeting that allowed the City Council to reach a community consensus for the allocation and distribution of the City’s budget over the next two years through a series of explicit, overarching goals. Topics discussed varied and included improved city transportation, affordable housing, and enhanced city infrastructure.

Improvement of the SLO City infrastructure sustained the period of brightness initiated at SLO City’s Budget Planning Forum, occurring only weeks prior to the Goal Setting Forum. At the Goal Setting Forum, SLO City affirmed that the lack of lighting in San Luis Obispo was an issue that called for remedy and must be relieved through the improvement of overall pedestrian safety in the City of SLO. Over the next 2 years, SLO City Council plans to work city departments, local community groups, and campus organizations, to implement increased street lighting in San Luis Obispo. Although the budget will be officially approved in months to come, SLO City’s official incorporation of lighting into their proposed budget is nothing short of a huge success for students in San Luis Obispo and will only continue to make the City a safer place for all.

On February 16, SLO City Council held a special meeting at the San Luis Obispo Veteran’s Hall designed to hear community input on the current SLO City Rental Housing Inspection Program (RHIP)—a highly controversial and hotly debated ordinance that effectively transcends all age groups. The City of San Luis Obispo currently requires all owners of rental housing and rental units to register the unit with the City under RHIP. The City will inspect all single family rental units to ensure they meet City health and safety standards. If housing is found to violate any of the health and safety codes, the property will be required to make the required repairs or changes.

As the RHIP special meeting was underway, attendee tension was palpable over group discussion offering suggestions as to how the current ordinance may be revised, improved, or altogether eliminated. While many community members expressed that the ordinance may violate privacy, increase rent, or displace residents, others expressed their support of the ordinance feeling it may be used as a safety net to protect against landlords unwilling to fix unsafe or unhealthy conditions. Possible solutions offered by the community members in attendance greatly varied including one potential solution which would involve removing the ordinance altogether, but implementing a possible renter education program. Another suggestion was a mandatory documents and house/apartment ‘checks’ the renter and landlord must do together prior to living in the rental unit. An individual in attendance offered that Cal Poly partner with SLO City to ensure that students understand their rights as renters while also repealing the ordinance.

Although the City did not make a decision on the future of the ordinance on the spot, the forum was a fantastic opportunity for all community members to present their opinions to the voting members. 

Community Update will continue to present monthly reports on these community highlights and more. For more information and to get involved, visit the San Luis Obispo City Council or attend this month’s meetings on Tuesday, March 7 and March 21 from  6:00–8:00 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo City Hall, 990 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo. To have your voice heard in local elections, register to vote at TurboVote.

ASI Presents, March Community Update, ASI Student Government


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