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Community Needs Assessment Reports

prepared by WRT Consulting, PROs Consulting, and ETC Institute

  1. Community Needs Assessment
  2. Needs Assessment Survey Report


Bright Ideas-2018-80


Music by Audiobinger


The development of a Parks and Recreation Master Plan and Element Update has been identified as the top priority for the Parks and Recreation Commission. The City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan was last updated in 2001; it was adopted concurrently as a Parks and Recreation Element and Master Plan. It is out of date and its usefulness as a policy document is minimal. With new parks being proposed at a historically unprecedented rate in association with multiple residential projects in in the City, the Parks and Recreation Commission and staff lack current policy direction as well as data regarding the community’s current and future parks and recreation needs.

This not only impacts future parks and recreation resources, but also the operational needs of the City’s existing parks and facilities. During the most recent drought a need was identified to include sustainable operational practices in current and future parks so that water intensive plantings are minimized. A Parks and Recreation Master Plan with a thorough Community Needs Assessment component would address these issues, among many others.


Staff is committed to keeping residents, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the City Council up to date on progress, and aware of the opportunities available to provide input and to participate in collaborative public meetings.

Pop-up Events

Stop by a pop-up event to pick up a comment card and provide your bright ideas for the future of parks and recreation in San Luis Obispo! Keep an eye out for the Parks and Recreation Bright Ideas bicycle.



The primary objectives for this project are to assess the existing parks and recreation facilities in the City; identify the community’s needs, including levels of service and geographic service area deficiencies; and update goals, policies and programs that relate to providing parks and recreation services within the City.

The planning process will include four major components:

1. Setting the Stage: Planning Framework
2. Determining Community Needs
3. Developing the Parks and Recreation Master Plan (Plan)
4. Updating the General Plan Parks and Recreation Element (Element)

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1. Supports Major City Goal regarding Climate Action by identifying future park amenities that are less water intensive and enhanced maintenance practices in existing parks to accomplish the same as well as other operational and or programmatic changes in support of this goal.

2. Supports Major City Goal regarding Multi-Modal Transportation by identifying and addressing connectivity between parks and open spaces via public transit, walking and cycling.

3. Supports the Major City Goal regarding fiscal health by prioritizing community needs for parks and recreation that result in prioritized capital improvement projects and operations for the same.

4. Supports the Housing Major City Goal by identifying resident and community needs and supporting the implementation of new facilities and new programs in new City neighborhoods.

5. Supports the Parks and Recreation Commission’s longstanding goal to update the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and Element to best serve the community.

6. Consistent with the San Luis Obispo Municipal Code, Chapter 12.20 Park Regulations, and 12.22 Open Space Regulations.

7. Supports implementation of the General Plan through the update of the Parks and Recreation Element and accompanying policies and programs.

8. Supports the City’s recently updated Land Use Element of the General Plan, including policies such as: “Areas preserved for open space should include public trail access, controlled to protect the natural resources, to assure reasonable security and privacy of

dwellings…” (LUE 1.10.3); downtown green space and public parks, including pocket parks and parklets should be increased (LUE 4.10); walking paths along San Luis Creek in the downtown should be included (LUE 4.15); and public art in projects should be included (LUE 5.2.4), among others.

9. Supports the City’s recently updated Circulation Elements of the General Plan, by identifying how parks and recreational areas can be conveniently reached by pedestrians or bicyclists (CE Goal; and completing a continuous pedestrian network connecting residential areas with major activity centers as well as trails leading into city and county open spaces (CE Policy 5.1.2), among others.

10. Supports the City’s Conservation and Open Space Element of the General Plan, including: (COSE 8.5.1) “Public access to open space resources, with interpretive information, should be provided when doing so is consistent with protection of the resources, and with the security and privacy of affected landowners and occupants. Access will generally be limited to non-vehicular movement and may be visually or physically restricted in sensitive areas” and (COSE 8.5.5) “The City will consider allowing passive recreation where it will not degrade or significantly impact open space resources and where there are no significant neighborhood compatibility impacts, in accordance with an approved open space conservation plan. Passive recreation activities may include: hiking, nature study, bicycle use, rock climbing, horseback riding or other passive recreational activities as permitted and regulated in the Open Space Ordinance.”

11. Supports the goals and policies in the Public Art Master Plan.

12. Implements the 2015 Open Space Maintenance Plan.

13. Implements the adopted 2020 Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan (Action 1.4.4).

14. Considers implementation strategies in the Downtown Concept Plan.

The City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department is committed to providing recreational opportunities to all ability levels. We welcome people with disabilities into our recreation programs through specialized programs and inclusion opportunities. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination of for individuals with disabilities, if you need specialized assistance to participate in any City sponsored classes, events or activities, please contact the front desk staff (805-781-7300 & In order to best accommodate your individual needs, we ask that you let us know of any accommodations needed at the time of registration and or at least 48 hours in advance of any City sponsored program. For further information on accommodation requests contact the front desk staff (805-781-7300 & 711 California Relay Service (which is also capable of handling TTY calls) is also available. The 711 service is available for those calling from within California.