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Cal Poly graduate students will present future planning options in Morro Bay 

A group of roughly 15 Cal Poly master’s students are scheduled to present their visions and concepts for the potential future of northern Morro Bay.

On May 6, students in the school’s City and Regional Planning master’s program are scheduled to make a presentation before the Morro Bay Planning Commission, highlighting the early stages of a studio group project intended to both provide students with hands-on city planning experience, as well as conceptual designs for Morro Bay planners.

Under the guidance of Dr. Hemalata Dandekar and Dr. Vicente del Rio of the Cal Poly Department of City and Regional Planning, the students are generating plans for potential development of the coastal area of northern Morro Bay, including the existing wastewater treatment plant. As part of a 10-week graduate-level course, the students have analyzed similar cities and reviewed the potential for Morro Bay to create new economic and other assets for the city.

“They can think outside the box,” Dandekar said of the students. “They don’t stay very much constrained by the situation, and they can think 20 or 30 years ahead of us.”

In the future, the area will be more accessible via a pedestrian bridge connecting the Embarcadero and downtown areas with open space, park space, a teen center, and Morro Bay High School. The students are also examining alternative uses of the wastewater treatment plant, which—after years of stalled plans for expansion—is currently proposed to be relocated.

Cal Poly has conducted similar projects in San Luis Obispo County and throughout the state in the past, with projects including downtown enhancement proposals in Carpinteria, downtown Morro Bay specific plan proposals, and an Oakland broadway auto row specific plan.

“They’re looking at how that area could be a transition between the Embarcadero and existing uses in Morro Bay,” Planning Commissioner Robert Tefft said.

Students are scheduled to make their presentation at 5 p.m. before the regular planning commission meeting. After receiving input, they’re scheduled to make a final presentation on May 3.

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