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Growth is inevitable 

Are you a slow-growth supporter or a pro-growth advocate? Do you want less inter-city traffic or more affordable housing? Are you willing to accept limited shopping opportunities or prefer some big city conveniences? Would you like growth going up or out? These are some of the many questions I'm asking myself after reading the very well-written, informative article about growing pains in the city of San Luis Obispo ("Development vs. character," Aug. 30).

Having lived in the county for almost 30 years, I find myself conflicted over this topic ... a topic and a fight that's been ongoing the entire time I've been here.

When I arrived, we didn't have a lot of what we have now, and most of this progress I'm pleased with. For example, there was no Trader Joe's or Home Depot nearby or commercial jet travel at our airport, conveniences I wouldn't want to give up.

On the other hand, there's a lot not to like about what's happened. For example, it used to be easy to find a parking spot in downtown SLO, Avila, or Pismo Beach, not any more. We didn't have a rush hour bogging down traffic on Route 127 and the Shell Beach straights, we do now. More homeless folks are on our streets for whatever the reason. It seems that much of the small-town charm is gone.

Many slow-growth advocates think it's time to make San Luis Obispo great again. But I don't think so because I believe our county remains the last, best place to live in California. So what to do?

For me, growth is inevitable and those who want to stop it will, at best, only be able to slow it down. The prudent course is for our city and county representatives to work with both slow- and pro-growth groups to make the best decisions to grow and modernize our county while maintaining as much charm and quality of life as possible.

We've done it over the last 30 years, and I'm optimistic that we can continue to do so into the future.

Gary Wechter

Arroyo Grande


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