County Seeks Input on LOVR Study

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

September 21, 2023

The government has many grand plans dealing with the Los Osos Valley Road corridor and the public is invited to give input as agencies try to make sense of all that’s been done.

San Luis Obispo County and the SLO Council of Governments (SLOCOG), have launched an inter-active website for the “Los Osos Valley Road Corridor Concept Plan” (see: to take public input.

LOVR is no stranger to this kind of master planning but this new study is intended to pull all the previous work together into one comprehensive document. 

Previous studies on LOVR include: the 2020 Los Osos Community Plan; 2021 Los Osos Circulation Study; 2019 Froom Ranch Specific Plan; and the 2016 San Luis Obispo County Bikeways Plan. But this new study could have an alternate motive. 

SLOCOG is starting to pull together potential projects in their efforts to pitch a countywide sales tax initiative for the November 2024 ballot. That expected half-cent sales tax measure, which is still being put together (deadline for the election is next August), would be dedicated to transportation projects like improvements to LOVR, the main commuter road linking San Luis Obispo and Los Osos.

The initial strategy from SLOCOG, which will be the agency’s first attempt at passing a transportation funding tax, is to cull together numerous potential projects that could be completed if the sales tax is passed. 

Among the many issues still to be announced is the methodology under which the various cities and the County will divvy up the bounty, i.e. by population or perhaps based on how much tax is collected by a community’s businesses, sort of like how an assessment district works.

The tax is initially predicted to raise over $34 million a year (for 20 years), money that could be used to leverage even more grant monies out of State and Federal agencies; and to help cover any matching fund requirements such grant programs often require. 

Now, matching monies come out of the County’s (or a city’s) General Fund or SLOCOG must cut into other projects, as its funding comes entirely from the State (Transportation Commission) and Federal (Federal Highways Administration, among other programs), essentially raised through state and federal fuel taxes.

It should be noted that SLOCOG has not yet formally released any sales tax proposal for voters to discuss, which is expected to come sometime next spring or early summer. 

The last time such a countywide sales tax was floated it failed to garner the required two-thirds voter approval (67%), falling less than 1% short.

“The purpose of this effort,” the notice said, “is to consolidate all of the planning and engineering into one comprehensive document. This exercise also allows for the opportunity of refining these planning policies and design efforts with further specificity and accuracy.

“The Los Osos Valley Road Corridor Concept Plan will remain as a conceptual design tool to facilitate corridor improvements in preparation of capital project delivery. The County will serve as the Lead Agency, in cooperation with SLOCOG, on implementation of this plan.”

What is the study looking for from residents? There are various ways to get involved, including:

• Leave location-specific comments on the interactive project map;

• Participate in the online survey,

• Attend public workshop (TBA, tentatively scheduled for September);

• Attend a Board of Supervisors meeting; and,

• Contact the County Department of Public Works.

Snail mail written comments to: 976 Osos St., Rm. 207, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401; email to: or phone 805-781-4309.

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