Each year, ASCE Region 9 presents Project and Individual Awards to recognize outstanding Civil Engineering projects at their annual ASCE Region 9 California Infrastructure Symposium and Awards Dinner. This year, the virtual awards dinner was on September 24th. To be nominated for one of these awards, projects must be located within the boundaries of ASCE Region 9, better known as the State of California. Cannon received an award in the Outstanding Urban/Land Development project category for our work on the Righetti Ranch project.

The evolution of Cannon’s involvement with Righetti Ranch started in 1997 when Cannon began providing land planning and engineering services to win approval of the Orcutt Area Specific Plan (OASP). The Orcutt Area, located along the southwestern edge of San Luis Obispo City, is bounded by Orcutt and Tank Farm Roads, and has since been annexed into the City of San Luis Obispo. The neighboring geography of Islay Hill, Righetti Hill, and the Santa Lucia foothills contributes to a significant local watershed, with creeks and riparian areas present on the project site. Cannon provided technical support and coordination for the resulting Endangered Species Act (ESA) permitting process.

The design of this project is focused on achieving the goals of the OASP, while also providing residents with a walkable community that blends into the surrounding landscape. Ambient Communities selected Cannon to help during the due diligence stage of the project, which included a preliminary drainage analysis, preliminary meetings, data transmittals for coordination with lenders, and a constraints map. Cannon also helped develop revised lot layouts to reflect Ambient Communities’ desire for product mix and siting.

When asked what she found successful about Righetti Ranch, Chenin Otto, Civil Senior Associate Engineer, stated that “Cannon brought a cohesive, multi-disciplinary approach to the project. Our Civil, Survey, Planning, Structural, and Electrical groups all worked on this. We also had backup from our landscape team on stormwater treatment design. We brought a lot of valuable experience to the table.”

Cannon provided the design of the drainage systems for the residential development, comprised of 150 single-family residences and approximately 13,000 feet of new public streets. The design includes stormwater collection and conveyance systems, detention facilities, and several culverts. The analyses incorporated hydrologic modeling to determine design storm flows, collection and conveyance systems, and flow routes. Cannon developed an extensive HEC-RAS (Hydraulic Engineering Center’s River Analysis System) hydraulic model to delineate the adjacent floodplain and identify a network of natural streams that pass through the site.

The Righetti Ranch project was a large, multi-faceted venture which is deserving of recognition. Upon receiving the award, Otto exclaimed, “This project really paved the way for the development of the Orcutt Area Specific Plan, and we had a lot of hurdles to get over along the way. I’m proud of the end product!”

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