June 4, 2014
This past Monday, the County Board of Supervisors approved the Operating Agreement between County Parks and the Land Conservancy. This reflects years of work, to mutual benefit, in formalizing how the Octagon Barn Center will be operated to the future. The agreement includes a commitment on the part of the County to grade and surface the parking lot, build a segment of the Bob Jones Pathway, install restrooms, and develop a South Higuera Street turn lane. In exchange, the Land Conservancy will operate and maintain the site. By separate, informal agreement, the County is preparing construction documents to be able to break ground on the site in late 2014. It is working hard to meet this schedule, to enable the Land Conservancy to landscape the site in Spring 2015.
Work to connect bicycle trails to the Octagon Barn was a major theme of the last six months:
A new group, “Friends of the Bob Jones Trail” if being formed. A kickoff meeting of known interested parties was held at the Octagon Barn on April 8. This group will support the efforts of the County, the City, and the Land Conservancy to build and maintain a safe, high quality trail and staging area. If you are interested in this activity, please see the website here.
A major step to connect bicycle paths to the Barn was taken on May 2, with the dedication of a segment of the City of San Luis Obispo’s segment of the Bob Jones Trail. This segment now provides a “Class 1” (i.e. off roads) connection between Prado Road and Los Osos Valley Road. The City continues to plan for a Class 1 connection from this point to the Octagon Barn.
A revision to the Environmental Impact Report for the County’s Bob Jones Pathway is underway. It should be back for public comment and eventual consideration by County Supervisors in late 2014 to early 2015. Construction could begin on segments between the Octagon Barn and the current Ontario Road Staging Area in 2017.
The City of San Luis Obispo is finishing its Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) update. A component in this effort is examination of the area near the barn where development is expected, along with updates to the road system. In particular, Buckley Road, at some point in the future, will be extended to connect with South Higuera, just south of the Octagon Barn. This will bring another bicycle trail (one following Buckley) down to South Higuera and the Barn, where it will connect to the Bob Jones Pathway. The LUCE is slated for consideration by City Council later in 2014.
The Land Conservancy has received the formal contract for its grant from the State of California (California Natural Resources Agency) to help build out the water infrastructure and landscaping at the Octagon Barn Center. In preparation for this grant, construction documents have been prepared for a pump house and an application has been completed for the necessary “change of occupancy” status of the entire site. Both the construction documents and the change of occupancy are in process by the County. With the grant and the processing of our applications in place, we hope to formally break ground at the site for these improvements in late summer or early fall. An exceptional team of architects, engineers, and construction managers, including Jim Duffy, Greg Crabtree, Bob Vessely, Bob McCain, and Tim Tillman, has been assembled to make this happen. Many of these individuals have been involved in other community/historic projects, such as the Point San Luis Lighthouse.
Finally, the Land Conservancy has stepped up in a major way to support the community with its Pismo Preserve land acquisition project. A outstanding, scenic 900-acre parcel could become available for public access (with over 10 miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians) with your support. Please see more about the Pismo Preserve project here.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions: B. K. Richard or 805.544.9096.