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Frequently Asked Questions

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Welcome to the City's Frequently Asked Questions page where you can find answers to commonly inquired about topics. Explore the FAQ library below by keyword search or by filtering by department.

What is Senate Bill 9 (SB 9)?

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Senate Bill 9 became effective January 1, 2022, and allows up to four (4) units on a single-family residentially zoned lot. The State law also allows subdivision of certain single-family parcels regardless of City minimum lot size standards.

For more information, please see the "Subdivision and Lot Split Regulations" section on the What Can I Do With My Property & Home? page.

What is the Atascadero Mello Roos CFD charge on my property tax bill?

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The City of Atascadero formed Community Facilities District No. 2005-1 (CFD) on May 24, 2005, to mitigate the impact to the City of providing police services, fire protection and suppression services, as well as park services to new developments in various areas of the City. Please click here to view the most current CFD annual report.

What is the difference between a General Sales Tax Measure and a Special Sales Tax Measure?

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Special Sales Tax Measures require a 2/3 plus 1 majority vote in order to pass, and legally restricts the funds to a special purpose.

General Sales Tax Measures require a 50% plus 1 majority vote to pass, and may be used for any legal purpose. Measure #F-14 and Measure #D-20 are General Sales Tax Measures.

What is the history and background of Atascadero Lake?

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Long before there was an “Atascadero Lake”, the small, shallow basin which was to eventually become the Lake, naturally filled with the winter rains and then, just as naturally, receded during the summer heat. Atascadero “Lake” is actually a pond; a low-lying area fed by rainfall and run-off. Please see this link for information about the Salinan tribe of Native Americans and their connection to Atascadero Lake.

As part of his dream for the Colony of Atascadero beginning in 1913, E.G. Lewis had engineers enlarge the existing natural basin, and then he featured the Lake in his promotions to help draw people to the new Colony. As in the past, Atascadero Lake continues to fill each year during the rainy season and then slowly dries as the summer progresses.

In times of limited rain or drought, the water level in Atascadero Lake is much lower than when we’ve had a good, wet season. Without enough rain to create a significant runoff, the lake doesn’t have a chance to fill to capacity, and then the water level sinks much more rapidly in natural response to the warm and semi-arid climate we normally experience here in Atascadero.

What is the size, depth and volume of Atascadero Lake?

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Size: 30.5 Acres
Maximum Depth: 13 Feet
Average Depth: 6.85 Feet
Maximum Volume: 68,100,000 Gallons

Lake Maintenance

During the warm summer months, a common and nearly annual source of concern when the water levels recede is algae blooms. Algae are essential ingredients in a balanced aquatic environment. However, following periods of hot weather, conditions which trigger episodes of rapid algae growth followed by its rapid die-off can occur. The cycle is a natural one that occurs during the hot summer months, and can unfortunately result in unpleasant odors occurring from the decomposing algae. Through the years, there have been various efforts undertaken to help maintain the Lake’s water quality and minimize algae blooms.

In 1962, prior to incorporation of Atascadero as a City, San Luis Obispo County had the bottom of the lake scraped to further enlarge and deepen the basin, and the soil from that sediment removal project was then used to create the island.

The City of Atascadero has a nearby water well which has been used in the past to help supplement water levels in the Lake, but when there’s little rainfall, the shallow well naturally runs low and therefore is of not much use during these periods. The City has also implemented the use of a diverter in Atascadero Creek to send some of the creek’s water flow into the Lake, to assist in keeping the water levels in the Lake at optimal levels. Again, during periods of drought or even just when winter rainfall is low, Atascadero Creek doesn’t run as high and therefore water cannot be diverted from the creek into the lake.

The City of Atascadero has also implemented various aeration efforts through the years, including removing sediment from the lakebed, aeration devices and fountains and an on-going repairs and upgrades to the creek-to-the lake supply pipeline.

To further assist in maintaining an optimum water level and quality, in recent years the Friends of Atascadero Lake (FOAL), a local non-profit group which was formed to help keep the Lake beautiful and inviting, drilled a new well on a nearby property and installed a supplemental pipeline to the Lake, which provides fresh water during the summer months. In 2017, FOAL commissioned an aeration system to promote circulation and oxygenation to the Lake.

Even though algae growth cannot be completely eliminated, the City has employed and continues to explore various methods to address algae growth, and continues our work and partnership with Friends of Atascadero Lake and other members of the community. Addressing water quality and algae blooms in Atascadero Lake has always been and always will be a very important and ongoing effort.

Although the Lake is owned by the City of Atascadero, it is important for the public to know that all projects that are planned to be taken in or near Atascadero Lake are governed and overseen by numerous State and Local Regulatory Agencies (such as Regional and State Water Quality Control Boards, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and more.) The regulatory process must be followed and the appropriate permits and approvals must be received from one or more of these entities, before the City of Atascadero can undertake any actions which affect the Lake or its environs.

What is the status of my permit?

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Call (805) 461-5035 or email for the status of your permit.

What time of year are youth sports available?

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Youth Basketball League Registration begins in the Fall, practices start in December, and games start in January.

Youth Volleyball and T-ball are held in the Spring.

What youth sports can my child participate in?

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Current City activities and sports can be found online or in the City's Recreation Guide which is printed and mailed to Atascadero residents three times a year.

Other, non-city provided youth sports include the:

Youth Soccer League

Girls Softball

Babe Ruth Baseball

Little League

Youth Football & Cheer

What’s coming up in Atascadero?

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To view upcoming events in Atascadero, click here.

When do I call in for inspection?

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View the back of your permit card for inspection types; find the inspections that correspond to the scope of work. General rule of thumb: Call before you cover it up!

When do I need to get an encroachment permit?

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An encroachment permit is required for any work that occurs in the City right-of-way. This includes all excavation, construction, placing obstructions (dumpsters, trees, signs, etc.), and other uses.

For more information on encroachment permits visit our Development Review & Permits page.

When is an event considered a Major Special Event?

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One or more of the following criteria may determine Major Special Event status:

  1. Estimated attendance of over 250 people.
  2. The event organizers will receive fees or donations.
  3. Amplified music or entertainers will be present.
  4. Paid entertainment will be present.
  5. Food or alcoholic beverages are to be sold.
  6. Special event involves special security or public safety controls.
  7. Precludes any other uses at the Park or Facility.

Individuals, organizations, or businesses may request the use of Atascadero Lake Park, Sunken Gardens Park, Stadium Park or the Veteran's Memorial for major special events.

When is my Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) due?

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TOT payments are due on or before the last day of the following month after the quarter ends: April 30th, July 31st, October 31st and January 31st.

When is the Atascadero Police Department open?

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The Police Department operates 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week. If you are experiencing an emergency call 911. For non emergencies call (805) 461-5051.

The Police Property & Evidence Unit is open to the public M-Thu. from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please call (805) 461-5051 for more information.

The Records Bureau hours are M-Thu. 8:30am-2:30pm. Please call (805) 461-5051.

Where can I buy a bus pass?

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Atascadero Dial-A-Ride punch passes and RTA bus passes can be purchased with cash or a check at Atascadero City Hall Central Reception during normal business hours. Please note, checks for RTA passes will need to be made out directly to RTA. RTA passes are also available for purchase online at

Where can I find burn regulations?

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The Fire & Emergency Services Department encourages you to use green waste recycling when possible. Provided you meet the guidelines detailed in the City's Fire Hazard Reduction Burn Regulations document, you can apply for a burn permit by utilizing the Outdoor Debris Burn Permitting System.

For more information about burn permits visit the Backyard Burning page, or call administrative offices at (805) 461-5070 ext. 8.

Where can I find my sewer bill?

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Sewer charges are billed annually on your San Luis Obispo County property tax bill. You can view your property tax bill online under the County of San Luis Obispo's Search for Property portal. The sewer charge is shown on the tax bill as ATAS SEWER CHARGE.

Where can I get information about a warrant?

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Warrant information can only be given to the person with the warrant after they have appeared in person at the Police Department and shown proper identification. Please be aware, if you have a warrant that is not cite-release* authorized, you may be taken into custody and held until you can post bail or you are released. You may also contact the Records and Warrants Unit of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department at (805) 781-4588. Limited information (such as the charges, bail amount, issuing agency, etc.) on adult warrants may be available.

If you are looking for warrant information on someone else, please contact the court in the county where you believe the person in question committed the crime.

*A cite-release on a warrant allows the officer to issue the suspect a citation with a new appearance date which will clear the warrant from the system.

Where can I pay my parking ticket?

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Please enclose a check or money order in the envelope provided with your parking citation to the address listed on the envelope, or submit in person at the Atascadero Police Department. Cash or check only.

Where does the City's street right-of-way begin and my property line ends?

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Please contact Public Works Engineering at (805) 470-3456.