The Supervisors approve the final reading of the new district map 

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 9 a.m. As the State did adopt a mask mandate on Tuesday, Dec. 13, the room was asked to continue wearing their masks.

The meeting opened with the consent agenda, which was approved 5-0.

Next, the Board submitted a resolution recognizing and commending Nina Negranti on her 21 years of service for the County. Several county employees, as well as members of the public, took a moment to thank Nina for her service. The motion passed 5-0.

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Public comment on items not on the agenda started with a resolution read by Supervisor John Peschong for individuals who were not able to attend when the resolution was read over the summer. The resolution thanked those involved on June 10 and 11 for their heroic actions in protecting public safety. The motion to adopt the resolution passed 5-0.

A presentation from Scotty Jalbert with the 60-day update on current drought conditions and continuing the need for the July 13 proclamation of local emergency was presented. The conditions have improved in Northern California, but San Luis Obispo County has remained largely unchanged. Current rains will hopefully lend some relief, especially with the snowpack in the Sierras. The outlook December through February is estimated to be about 40 percent below normal, but as of today, the County is ahead of schedule for rainfall. The county reservoirs capacity have been steadily falling, but the current rain will hopefully bring better news on the next update. The drought task force strategy meeting is set for Jan. 26 to come up with strategies for the upcoming year to discuss how to handle the drought situation. Burn season is open from Nov. 1 to Apr. 30 for those who have the proper permits.

Item 21 was a request to approve the fund allocation for a contract with Soundheal. This project is part of the innovation plan, in which 5 percent of the allotted budget is required to be used toward some process to learn and find new methods for helping. This project was delayed due to the COVID setbacks and is only just now coming before the Board after more than a year in the works. This project, SoulWomb, is designed to increase the quality of services and outcomes of service delivery. The innovative approach is not a brand new idea that has never been done before, but rather making a change to a practice that has been proven to be successful within the medical field and is now being adapted to have a different avenue to test its success. The SoulWomb project intends to use a sound meditation pod for a holistic, mindfulness-based treatment of Behavioral Health clients. The key goal of this project is to learn whether this sound meditation technique will be effective for increasing court and diversion clients’ wellness, participation and, ultimately, improving mental health outcomes. The Supervisors had differing opinions on the program, with Chairperson Lynn Compton expressing her concern over the extreme cost associated with the pod where traditional mediation could help just as well. Supervisor John Peschong gave his support and hoped to have reports back on how successful or not the program is proceeding. Supervisor Bruce Gibson made a motion to approve the program, which passed 3-2, with Supervisor Debbie Arnold and Chairperson Compton in opposition.

The next item was the Land Use Ordinance which will make the workforce housing ordinance permanent by removing the sunset date, which was set to expire on Dec. 22 of this year. The ordinance is designed to be an incentive to make it possible for developers to design projects that include some workforce housing affordable units. The main benefit is that it allows units to be built without a requirement for an HOA. The motion to approve staffs recommendations and remove the sunset date passed 5-0.

The next item was a hearing to consider amendments to the County Building and Construction ordinance. The amendments allow the County to enforce state regulations to the building code for any new construction, alterations to adhere to the state mandate to reduce organic waste in landfills according to California Green Building Standards. The motion passed 5-0.

The Board then moved on to an amendment of the ordinance of planning and building fees as well as adding and removing a few positions. The fee assessment recommended that the fees should be adjusted from $936 to $250. Supervisor Arnold made a motion to pass item 2 of the item, which was amending the position allocations for the planning and building department. This motion passed 5-0. Supervisor Gibson made a motion to approve 1, 3, and 4, which passed 3-2 with Supervisor Arnold and Chairperson Compton in opposition.

The Board then broke for lunch and closed session with nothing to report before moving on to the final item; submittal of the resolution confirming new district boundaries. The presentation was made to recap the steps the County has gone through, revisit the legal requirements of redistricting and assure the Board that the chosen map falls within the legal parameters. Public comment continued the thread of the past few meetings, from those in support of the map to those who were disappointed that any change was being made to those who felt like one action or another was crossing legal boundaries. After hearing public comments and discussing the item among the supervisors who were divided the issue, the item was passed 3-2 with Supervisors Gibson and Ortiz-Legg in opposition.

The next meeting of the Supervisors will be Tuesday, Jan. 11, and the agenda and links to join the meeting virtually can be found on the County’s website slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Board-of-Supervisors/Board-Meetings,-Agendas-and-Minutes.aspx.