Supervisors approve two grandfathered lots to proceed with building in Cambria

SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, Sept. 14, for a regularly scheduled meeting at 9 a.m.

The meeting opened with public comment on the consent agenda, which focused mainly on the unhoused community in Los Osos and the initiatives to move them to the area set up on Kansas Avenue.

The consent agenda was approved 5-0, with item 22 being held for further discussion. Item 22 is the Board’s intent to withdraw from the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA), and Supervisor John Peschong requested that the item be amended so the notification of removal would be submitted on Oct. 15, making Nov. 15 the effective date of withdrawal from the IWMA. The motion passed 3-2, with Supervisors Dawn Ortiz-Legg and Bruce Gibson in opposition.

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Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer, presented the COVID update. In the month of June, there were 163 cases, July had 698, and August had 3543. This led to the return of the mask mandate when indoors and a strong recommendation to wear masks in outdoor crowded settings as well. Currently, there are 41 people in the hospital, and those in intensive care and on ventilators are at record highs. Deaths have seen an increase as well, with zero deaths between mid-May to mid-July and 33 deaths from Jul. 12 to today, with an additional 20 pending final certificates. If the country were still following the blueprint, it would be in deep purple. Unlike the winter surge, the county is fully open, as well as our hospitals, which inputting a strain on our hospital resources. There are 60 different outbreaks being monitored, and currently, it is still only the Delta variant being seen. Borenstein also reiterated that despite many claims, masks, when worn correctly, are effective in preventing the spread of the disease.

Item 32 was regarding the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector (ACTTC) to conduct fiscal analyses and prepare fiscal impact statements for any future county ballot measures initiated locally that are deemed to fiscally impact San Luis Obispo County. The goal of this policy is to create a consistent, apolitical, financial analysis of proposed changes after considering all potential costs and fiscal impacts to the County and its economy. The item was approved.

Item 33 was a hearing to consider the addition of the Ground Water Sustainability Director and to add the job to the unclassified center, as well as approval of the fund center 205. The motion to approve was made by Supervisor Debbie Arnold and seconded by Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg. Supervisor Gibson added a discussion to say that while he’ll support the approval, he maintains that the means by which this position is ultimately funded and the position it oversees is an important one for the Board to consider. He states that it should not be funded by the general fund but rather by the beneficiaries of the services. The motion passed 5-0.

The Board then went into closed session and a break for lunch, after which there was nothing to report. The afternoon session continued without Chairperson Lynn Compton for undisclosed reasons.

Item 35 and 36 were two separate hearings to appeal to allow for residences to be built within Cambria. The proposed project had been approved by the Planning Commission but appealed on the grounds that it wasn’t approved by the Coastal Commission due to the lack of water in the Cambria district. Cambria is an area that has been severely affected by drought and in 2001 put a moratorium on building as further users could not be safely added. Throughout the hearing, it was reported that the two properties in question are part of the grandfathered parcels as prior to the 2001 moratorium, these units already had water meters installed and have been paying meter fees, and thereby are included in the units considered to already exist in Cambria. The argument against the lots maintained that Cambria simply didn’t have enough water, the water available for fires is too minimal, and the streams and rivers are dangerously low, which could cause strain to the wildlife living in those water areas. The Board ultimately decided with a 4-0 vote to deny the appeal and uphold the planning commission’s decision to allow the project to continue.

Item 37 was a hearing to consider an appeal by Tyler Mitchell of Engrained LLC to establish an outdoor cannabis growing operation in the Northeast area of Creston. The original project was denied on several grounds, one of which was that the originally proposed project was more of a commercial operation and not a fit for the area. The appellant returned with a revised project to fix the areas of concern. Supervisor Gibson moved to uphold the appeal, approve the project, adding the standard indemnity condition that gets added to appeals, and approve mitigated negative declaration with Supervisor Ortiz-Legg in opposition. The motion passed 3-1 with Supervisor Ortiz-Legg in opposition.

The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is set to be held on Sept. 28, and the meeting agenda can be found on the district’s website when it becomes available.