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Paso Robles council approves River Oaks expansion 

A 129-acre expansion of the River Oaks development in Paso Robles jumped over its final hurdle on June 21, with the Paso Robles City Council voting 4-0 to approve the project.

River Oaks II will bring 271 single-family units to the city, adding on to the existing River Oaks neighborhoods north of Highway 46 and east of Highway 101. 

About half of the incoming units will join River Oaks’ 55-years-and-older residences on the west side of the development, with the other half serving as standard single-family units on the east end.

The project required an amendment to the city’s general plan to rezone 85 acres of the land from agriculture to residential single family, which the City Council signed off on in the June 21 vote.

City Planner Susan DeCarli told New Times that River Oaks II required more than six years of planning, tweaking, and collaboration between the applicant, Estrella Associates, and city staff. Construction on the expansion will take place over the next eight or so years.

In addition to the housing, the project also expands the River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, adding new pools and tennis courts, and it dedicates a stretch of land alongside the Salinas River to the city for public walking trails, playing fields, and other open space uses. Another component of the plan is to preserve 26 acres of agriculture at the center of the development for “internal, private agricultural activity,” which will include a nearby farm stand to sell the locally grown produce.

Public concerns about River Oaks II are primarily over water availability. The City Council and city staff tried to quell those concerns at the June 21 City Council meeting.

“We’ve looked at what our needs and demands are out to 2035, and we’re satisfied that there’s adequate water to serve this development,” said Dick McKinley, Paso public works director.

Council members pointed out that River Oaks will eventually use recycled water from the city’s new wastewater treatment facility to maintain its landscape.

“It will be our first opportunity to use what many people have asked us to produce, which is recycled water,” Mayor Steve Martin said. “It’s a step forward for us.”

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