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Dana Reserve project to go before supervisors on April 23 and 24 

Before the end of April, the controversial Dana Reserve project and local residents should have an answer from the SLO County Board of Supervisors.

On April 23 and 24, the proposed Nipomo development will have its days in front of supervisors, six months after the county Planning Commission recommended approval of the project.

The development, the largest proposed for SLO County in 25 years, has been a hot topic for community members as many Nipomo residents think the project is too big and comes with too many environmental impacts.

3,000 OAK TREES Many local community members are protesting against the Dana Reserve proposed plan to cut down 3,094 oak trees to make room for their project.  - FILE PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
  • File Photo By Camillia Lanham
  • 3,000 OAK TREES Many local community members are protesting against the Dana Reserve proposed plan to cut down 3,094 oak trees to make room for their project. 

"It creates a huge struggle that I'll have to live with and maybe even my kids and their kids will have to live with because the destruction of the trees and just the development in general will have such a catastrophic effect," co-founder and co-executive director of the Central Coast Student Coalition Cesar Vasquez told New Times. "I want the Central Coast to be a place where kids can truly thrive and where future generations can fully thrive, and his development doesn't do that."

The project is planning to cut down more than 3,000 oak trees, Burton Mesa Chaparral habitat and other nonnative grasslands to help make room for its 1,318 residential units, 203,000 square feet of recreational space, a shopping center, California Fresh Market grocery store, South County Cuesta College campus, and neighborhood parks, according to an August 2023 SLO County staff report.

Dana Reserve developer and Nipomo native Nick Tompkins told New Times that he wants to bring new opportunities and housing options to Nipomo.

"The goal is to offer a range of housing types so it would meet the needs of lots of different people across 10 different neighborhoods essentially," his daughter Elizabeth said. "It'd be sort of a master-planned community where many of your daily needs could be met on-site, so it would promote walkability, bike-ability, and there would be parks, native parks, and it could support everyone living there and bring things to the community."

The Central Coast Student Coalition teamed up with the Nipomo Action Committee, and the YTT Northern Chumash Tribe to create an alternative map that will incorporate 800 housing units while keeping more than 100 acres of open space and natural habitat.

"We fully understand the need for housing in San Luis Obispo County," YTT Northern Chumash Tribal Chair Mona Olivas Tucker told New Times. "But we also understand not just the cultural significance of oak trees, but the value that they add to combating climate crisis, and deforestation isn't the right step to take to combat the climate crisis. It's not the right step to take to protect invaluable cultural resources."

On April 23, the Central Coast Student Coalition will be holding a rally from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown SLO to promote the alternative map. Δ

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