Credit: File

San Luis Obispo’s Community Development Department is seeking feedback from residents on their ideas for increasing housing in the downtown area, according to a city news release. The Housing Team proposed a Downtown Flexible Density Program intended to lower housing costs by encouraging developers to build smaller units.

The program plans to reduce density standards for units and provide incentives for housing development in downtown San Luis Obispo, specifically in the Downtown Core. An updated map will outline the boundaries of what’s considered to be the Downtown Core, according to SLO City Housing Coordinator Kyle Bell. 

“It’s an incentive to prioritize land dedicated to housing rather than parking,” Bell said.

The program will expire on Jan. 1, 2029, or until 500 new residential units are permitted. Units are expected to be developed either in new buildings in the Downtown Core or on the upper floors of pre-existing buildings.

The current plan was created to increase foot traffic to restaurants, shops, and other resources in the downtown area. With more people living in that zone, they are hoping to accommodate the increasing demand for a walkable urban environment. 

This new program is one of the many ways that the city is working towards its city goal for Housing and Homelessness. 

“This ordinance is not intended to be independent”, Bell said. “It’s a collective effort to contribute to the city’s goals associated with housing, homelessness, economic vitality, and climate action.”

Community members can submit feedback on the Downtown Flexible Density Program through the City’s online forum for civic engagement in the discussion titled “Do you want to see more housing units in downtown San Luis Obispo?” 

The city is receiving comments through Feb. 13 in the discussion forum. There will also be a Planning Commission Hearing on Feb. 22 and a Council Hearing on March 21 where the community can also provide comments. For more information, email, or contact Bell at