Frequently Asked Questions

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The following is a list of Citywide FAQs. Please use the drop-down menus to filter by category or department.
  • Affordable Housing

    • Does the City own or manage affordable housing units?

    • How do I qualify for affordable housing?

    • What affordable housing incentives are available?

    • What is affordable housing?

    • What is inclusionary housing?

  • Bicycle

    • Are there bicycle education opportunities within San Luis Obispo?

    • Can I bring my bike on the bus?

    • Can I ride my bike on sidewalks in the City?

    • I want to ride my bike but where can I park it?

    • What does a green bike lane mean?

    • What is a bike box?

    • What is the small bicycle symbol in the traffic lane at a signalized intersection?

    • Will my bicycle be detected at a traffic signal?

  • Bicycle Sharrows

    • Bicyclists riding over these markings take up the lane, aren't they supposed to move to the right?

    • Can I drive my car over these markings, or is this a bike lane only?

    • Is the City going to start putting these on all streets that don't have a bike lane?

    • I've never seen these markings before, why are they being used now and does anybody else use them?

    • So if I don't see these markings, then it's not a shared lane and bikes can't be there?

    • What is a Sharrow?

    • Why can't cyclists just look inside the parked cars and move out when they see somebody in a car?

  • Building Permits

    • How do I apply for a permit?

    • How long will it take to obtain a building permit?

    • How much will my application cost?

    • I want to build an accessory building on my property? What is the process? What can I build?

    • My property is on the Master or Contributing list of historic resources, what does this mean?

    • What does Architectural Review evaluate?

    • What materials do I need to submit for an exception?

    • What type of approval will I need for my business?

  • Business

    • How can I find out what zone my property is in?

    • How can I get a reduced fee for childcare or swim classes?

    • How can I make a registration payment for classes or buy childcare hours?

    • How can I pay for my approved reservation online?

    • My property is on the Master or Contributing list of historic resources, what does this mean?

    • What is a Use Permit?

    • What type of approval will I need for my business?

  • City Facilities

    • Do I need a permit to use my portable barbecue in a park?

    • How can I find out what construction work will be occurring in City Buildings?

    • How can I get permission to reserve a City Facility?

    • How can I pay for my approved reservation online?

    • How can I report graffiti, trash or other problems in a City Park?

    • How do I contact animal control?

    • How do I contact the Friends of the Adobes?

    • How do I get permission to use a City park?

    • How do I report a problem in a City Building?

    • How do I reserve the Jack House Gardens?

    • Is alcohol allowed in City parks?

    • Is there a lost and found for City Buildings?

    • Is there a lost and found for City Parks?

    • Is there a map showing all City Buildings?

    • Is there a map showing all City parks and facilities?

    • What are the hours for City park use?

    • What equipment is available for use in the Library meeting rooms?

    • What indoor facilities does the City rent out to the public?

    • Where can I see a listing of all available indoor and outdoor City facilities?

  • Code Enforcement

    • Can I deliver cannabis in the City?

    • Can I grow cannabis within the City?

    • Can I sell cannabis or cannabis products within the City?

    • How can I dispose of bulk items such as couches, mattresses, televisions, etc?

    • How can I dispose of household hazardous materials such as paint, motor oil, etc?

    • How does City staff become aware of potential code violations?

    • I received a Notice to Correct for violations in my front yard , what does that mean?

    • Someone in our neighborhood has left a basketball hoop on the street creating parking restrictions. What can be done about this?

    • What are some examples of City codes the City staff enforce?

    • What happens if my property is in violation?

    • What is Code Enforcement?

    • Why does the City enforce violations of Building and Zoning Regulations?

    • Will the no smoking ordinance apply to cannabis?

  • Development

    • How can I comment on a project?

    • How can I find out what zone my property is in?

    • How do I appeal a decision?

    • How long will it take for my project to be approved?

    • How many bedrooms/units can I have? Aka Density

    • How many parking spaces do I need?

    • How much will my application cost?

    • How tall can I build my fence?

    • How tall can I build my structure?

    • I want to build an accessory building on my property? What is the process? What can I build?

    • My property is on the Master or Contributing list of historic resources, what does this mean?

    • Should I do Pre-Application review?

    • What are current projects in the City?

    • What are my setbacks?

    • What does Architectural Review evaluate?

    • What is a Use Permit?

    • What materials do I need to submit for an exception?

    • Will a traffic impact study be required and if so what is the process?

  • Drought

    • Do I need a permit for my rainwater collection system?

    • How can I report water waste in my community?

    • How much water is left in our reservoirs?

    • Is the City offering turf removal rebates?

    • What about changes to building codes such as requiring rain harvesting and gray water systems for new development?

    • What requirements will be placed on new development to conserve water?

    • Why is new development continuing while existing customers are being asked to reduce their water use?

    • Why should new development be allowed at all during the drought emergency?

  • eNotification

    • How do I receive alerts about Public Works construction bids and proposals?

    • How do I unsubscribe?

    • How often will I receive email updates?

    • Who will have access to my email address?

  • Expanded Polystyrene

    • To whom does the ordinance apply?

    • What are the alternatives to EPS?

    • What are the exemptions?

    • What is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)?

    • What makes food containers biodegradable, compostable or recyclable?

    • When will the ordinance take effect?

    • Why is EPS now regulated?

  • Fire Department Operations in SLO

    • How can I become a SLO City Firefighter?

    • If I have fire sprinklers in my home or business, is it going to flood and ruin everything if I have a fire?

    • Why did you chop that big hole in my roof!?! The fire was in the kitchen, not the attic!

    • Why do we need a 100-foot ladder truck if we don't have 100-foot tall buildings?

    • Why does San Luis Obispo need 4 fire stations?

    • Why does the big fire truck respond to sprained ankles?

  • Flood Control Program

    • Does the City have a map showing flood zones?

    • How can I find out more on preparing for the winter storms?

    • How can I find out what creek improvements are planned?

    • How can I get information on creeks in general?

    • What is the schedule for creek and storm drain maintenance?

    • What is Winter Weather Preparedness?

    • Where can I find more flood information?

    • Who is responsible for creek maintenance?

  • Flood Preparation Guide

    • But aren't I safe inside my car?

    • Do I live in a flood zone?

    • How can I protect my property from flood damage?

    • How can I stay safe if I must travel during a storm?

    • How long does a flood usually last?

    • How will I know if there is a flood danger during a storm?

    • I still have more flood questions. Can you help?

    • If my property's in the floodplain, does that mean I can't develop it?

    • Is it OK to watch the rushing water? It's so beautiful...

    • Is there anything else I can do to get ready?

    • OK, what if I just want to remodel my building - which happens to be in a flood zone?

    • What can you tell me about flood insurance?

    • What does our local floodplain consist of?

    • What should I do if I see downed power lines?

  • Historic Preservation

    • How can I find out what zone my property is in?

    • My property is on the Master or Contributing list of historic resources, what does this mean?

  • Human Resources

    • Are you currently recruiting for Firefighters?

    • Are you currently recruiting for Police Officers?

    • Where can I find Employee Salary and Benefits Information?

  • Inflow and Infiltration

    • What is a private sewer lateral?

    • Who is responsible for repairing and maintaining private sewer laterals?

    • Why is maintaining a private sewer lateral important?

  • Parking Services

    • Are there any other options for parking other than the meters?

    • How do I appeal a citation?

    • How do I use the new credit Card meters?

    • How soon after issuance must I pay a ticket?

    • I live near a high school and the kids keep taking up all parking spaces in the neighborhood. What can be done about this?

    • I received a citation. How do I pay for it?

    • If I receive a citation while parked at a broken meter, what can I do?

    • There is an abandoned vehicle on my street. How do I get it towed?

    • What are the hours of meter operation?

    • What are the Parking Services office hours?

    • What happens if I do not pay for a Parking Violation on time?

    • What is a Residential Parking Permit District?

    • What is the Meter Cashkey?

    • What should I do if the meter I park at is broken?

    • What types of parking permits are available for purchase?

    • Where can I park my motorcycle, moped, and bicycle?

    • Where can I park my over-sized vehicle or RV?

    • Where does the money go that is collected from the parking meters and citations?

    • Where is the Parking Services office located?

  • Parks

    • Do I need a permit to use my portable barbecue in a park?

    • How can I report graffiti, trash or other problems in a City Park?

    • How do I contact animal control?

    • How do I contact the Friends of the Adobes?

    • How do I get permission to use a City park?

    • How do I reserve the Jack House Gardens?

    • How do I volunteer to do work in a City Park?

    • Is alcohol allowed in City parks?

    • Is there a lost and found for City Parks?

    • Is there a map showing all City parks and facilities?

    • What are the hours for City park use?

    • Where can I see a listing of all available indoor and outdoor City facilities?

  • Parks Maintenance

    • How can I find out what construction work will be occurring in City Parks?

    • How can I report graffiti, trash or other problems in a City Park?

    • How do I contact animal control?

    • How do I contact the Friends of the Adobes?

    • How do I contact the Joint Use Committee?

    • How do I get permission to use a City park?

    • How do I volunteer to do work in a City Park?

    • Is alcohol allowed in City parks?

    • Is there a lost and found for City Parks?

    • Is there a map showing all City parks and facilities?

    • What are the hours for City park use?

  • Pavement Maintenance

    • How do I find out what the repaving schedule is for city streets?

    • How do I report a pot hole?

    • How do I report a problem with a City Street?

  • Permit Process

    • How can I comment on a project?

    • How can I find out what zone my property is in?

    • How do I appeal a decision?

    • How do I apply for a permit?

    • How do I request an exception?

    • How do I reserve the Jack House Gardens?

    • How long will it take for my project to be approved?

    • How long will it take to obtain a building permit?

    • How much will my application cost?

    • I want to build an accessory building on my property? What is the process? What can I build?

    • My property is on the Master or Contributing list of historic resources, what does this mean?

    • Should I do Pre-Application review?

    • What does Architectural Review evaluate?

    • What is a Use Permit?

    • What materials do I need to submit for an exception?

    • What type of approval will I need for my business?

  • Public Works

    • How can I find out what construction is planned?

    • Request Public Works Inspection

    • There is an abandoned vehicle on my street. How do I get it towed?

  • Public Works Bid Resources

    • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Information

    • Purchasing Printed Plans and Specifications

    • Registering with the Department of Industrial Relations

    • Registration for City's Construction Contractors Bidder List

  • Recycled Water

    • How is water recycled?

    • Is recycled water safe?

    • Where will recycled water be used?

  • Sidewalk and Parkway Maintenance

    • Are there inspections and standards for concrete repair work?

    • Can I paint the curb in front of my house red?

    • How do I find out about curb and gutter issues?

    • How do I report a problem with a City Street?

    • How do I report an issue with a City sign?

    • How do I report sidewalk damage or trip hazards?

    • If a problem is reported to the City, how long does it take for them to repair it?

    • Is the property owner responsible for repairs if the concrete damage is caused by a tree?

    • Related to sidewalk repair is clearance and visibility. When is maintenance required?

    • What are the options available for completing the work?

    • What measures should be taken to minimize concrete displacement by tree roots?

    • When is a permit required for landscape maintenance work?

    • When should property owners consider doing sidewalk replacement?

    • Who is responsible for maintenance?

    • Will the City paint the curb red in front of fire hydrants and mail boxes?

    • Will the City provide sidewalk repair?

  • Signal and Street Light Maintenance

    • How can I make a suggestion or complaint about traffic signals?

    • How do I report a problem with a traffic signal?

    • Is there a map showing the City signal locations?

  • Stormwater

    • Can I blow my leaves into the gutter?

    • It’s ok for me to do this in other towns; why can’t I do it in SLO?

    • What can be discharged into the gutter?

    • Where can I drain my pool?

    • Why should I be concerned with stormwater when it’s not raining?

  • Street Maintenance

    • How do I find out about curb and gutter issues?

    • How do I find out what the repaving schedule is for city streets?

    • How do I report a pot hole?

    • How do I report a problem with a City Street?

    • How do I report an issue with a City sign?

    • How do I report sidewalk damage or trip hazards?

    • Is there a map showing the city street cleaning schedule?

    • There are shoes hanging on the utility lines on my street. Can the City remove them?

    • Will the City provide sidewalk repair?

  • Swim Center

    • How can I find out about swimming programs at the pool?

    • How can I find out what construction work will be occurring at the Pool?

    • How can I get a reduced fee for childcare or swim classes?

    • How can I make a suggestion, complaint or report a problem about Sinsheimer pool?

    • How do I find out about how the chemical system works at the pool?

    • Is there a lost and found for Sinsheimer Pool?

    • What is the temperature of the Pool? What are the dimensions?

    • Where Can I Find the Swim Schedule and Closure Dates for the Pool?

  • Traffic

    • How do I submit a traffic concern?

  • Trails and Open Space

    • How can I report graffiti, trash or other problems in a City Park?

    • How do I contact animal control?

    • How do I volunteer to do work in a City Park?

    • Is there a lost and found for City Parks?

    • Is there a map showing all City parks and facilities?

  • Transit

    • Can I bring my bike on the bus?

    • Can I buy a pass that works on both SLO Transit and RTA?

    • How do I figure out the bus I need, at the time I need it?

    • I heard that SLO Transit is hiring bus drivers, how do I apply?

    • Is the bus accessible to passenger with disabilities?

    • Lost and found – I left something on the bus, where can I find it?

    • What discounted fares does SLO Transit offer?

    • What else do I need to know?

    • What’s the difference between SLO Transit and RTA?

    • When do I need a transfer?

    • When does the trolley run?

    • Where can I buy a bus pass?

  • Transportation

    • Can I bring my bike on the bus?

    • Can I install my own traffic signs on my street? Paint artwork on the Street?

    • Can I paint the curb in front of my house red?

    • How are Speed Limits set in the City?

    • How does the City choose the location for an installation of a Traffic Signal?

    • How does the City determine installation of different colored curb?

    • How many people have to die before the City will fix my street/intersection?

    • I am having difficulty seeing the oncoming traffic at a particular intersection. How can the City help?

    • I cross an intersection without crosswalks. Can the City install a marked crosswalk or beacon flashers?

    • I live near a high school and the kids keep taking up all parking spaces in the neighborhood. What can be done about this?

    • Someone in our neighborhood has left a basketball hoop on the street creating parking restrictions. What can be done about this?

    • There is an abandoned vehicle on my street. How do I get it towed?

    • What can be done to slow down the speeding occurring on our street?

    • What is the small bicycle symbol in the traffic lane at a signalized intersection?

    • What needs to occur for the City to allow a full closure of a street so we can eliminate all traffic in a neighborhood?

    • Where can I see what the City has planned for future roads or bicycle and pedestrian facilities in my neighborhood?

    • Why doesn’t the City install speed bumps to slow down the speeders?

    • Why doesn’t the City install Stop Signs to slow down the speeders?

    • Why doesn’t the City post the speed limit in my residential neighborhood?

    • Why doesn't the City install Children at Play Signs?

    • Will my bicycle be detected at a traffic signal?

    • Will the City paint the curb red in front of fire hydrants and mail boxes?

  • Trash & Recycling

    • How can I recycle my hazardous waste?

    • How do I dispose of needles and sharps?

    • How do I get rid of used motor oil?

    • I want more information on curbside recycling; where do I sign up?

    • What should I do with my broken steam iron, waffle maker, ice cream maker, crock pot, vacuum cleaner, or similar item?

    • Why can’t I recycle Styrofoam?

  • Trees and Urban Forestry

    • 1. When does a tree in the City of San Luis Obispo require a Tree Removal Permit?

    • 2. How much does it cost to submit a tree removal application?

    • 3. Can anyone remove a tree in the City of San Luis Obispo?

    • 4. Can a tree be removed without paying for a tree removal permit?

    • 5. What are "Street Trees" and who maintains them? Can a Street Tree be removed?

    • 6. What qualifications are required by the City when hiring a tree care contractor to prune my private trees or the City Street Tree in front of my property?

  • Utilities

    • How can I report water waste in my community?

    • How did the EPA determine drinking water regulations for disinfection by-products (TTHM’s)?

    • How do I learn more about my drinking water?

    • How much water is left in our reservoirs?

    • What are the health risks of TTHM’s?

    • What are Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM’s)?

    • Why did City of San Luis Obispo customers receive a public notification concerning TTHM’s ?

    • Why is chlorine added to City water?

  • Utility Billing

    • Why do we pay sewer fees?

    • Why don’t I have any water?

    • Why is my current water bill so much higher than my last?

    • Why is our water pressure low?

  • Volunteer

    • How do I volunteer to do work in a City Park?

  • Wastewater Collections

    • What are the sources of wastewater?

    • What part of the sewer system am I responsible for?

    • Who do I call when I have a sewer problem?

  • Wastewater Treatment

    • Are discharge requirements hard to meet?

    • How is water recycled?

    • Is recycled water safe?

    • What are the costs to operate the plant per year?

    • What are the sources of wastewater?

    • What significant change have you seen in the creek and/or habitat?

    • Where will recycled water be used?

  • Water Conservation

    • Do I need a permit for my rainwater collection system?

    • How can I report water waste in my community?

    • How much water is left in our reservoirs?

    • Is the City offering turf removal rebates?

    • Why is my current water bill so much higher than my last?

  • Water Distribution

    • Why don’t I have any water?

    • Why is my water sometimes discolored?

    • Why is our water pressure low?

  • Water Sources

    • Can I take my boat on Whale Rock Reservoir?

    • How do I access Whale Rock Reservoir?

    • Is there Mercury in Nacimiento Water?

    • What is the total capacity of source water when both Salinas & Whale Rock reservoirs are full?

    • What kind of fish are in Whale Rock Reservoir?

    • Where does my water come from?

  • Water Treatment

    • Does the City use chlorine or chloramines?

    • How did the EPA determine drinking water regulations for disinfection by-products (TTHM’s)?

    • How do I learn more about my drinking water?

    • How much water is treated each day?

    • Is there Mercury in Nacimiento Water?

    • What are the health risks of TTHM’s?

    • What are Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM’s)?

    • What is done to make the water safe to use?

    • What is in our water?

    • Where does my water come from?

    • Why did City of San Luis Obispo customers receive a public notification concerning TTHM’s ?

    • Why is chlorine added to City water?

    • Why is my water sometimes discolored?

  • Winter Weather Guide

    • Am I at risk?

    • But... I don't want to walk the plank!

    • Can I use baffle boards to protect my doorway entrances?

    • I haven't planted anything on my backyard slope. What should I do?

    • I just bought a new car and park it in my garage. How can I keep the water out?

    • I still have more questions, can you help?

    • I'm baffled by baffle boards. What are they, and how do I use them?

    • Is it safe to surf on flood waters?

    • Is there anything I can do to strengthen the soil so it resists erosion?

    • My house has a wood floor. Am I doomed?

    • My house is built on a slab. It's safe from water, isn't it?

    • My property falls within a flood zone! What should I do?

    • My property isn't in a flood zone, but I still want to get ready. What can I do?

    • Rover doesn't know how to dog paddle. How can I help him?

    • The storm is over. Now what?

    • The water's coming right now and I missed the winter weather sale at the hardware store - Help?

    • What about my kids? What can I do to protect them?

    • What do I need to know about sandbags?

  • Youth Services

    • How can I get a reduced fee for childcare or swim classes?

    • How can I make a registration payment for classes or buy childcare hours?