The decommissioning project of Diablo is presented with updates

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, Nov. 2, for a regularly scheduled meeting at 9 a.m.

The meeting opened with discussion around the consent agenda item 18: the request to approve an FY 2021-22 contract with Soundheal Inc in the amount not to exceed $175,320 to test the effectiveness of sound meditation in improving mental health outcomes. Two members of the community spoke in opposition to this item, resulting in Supervisor John Peschong making a motion to bring the subject back at a future meeting for a further discussion. It was addressed that the funds had already been approved for “alternative methods” and that these methods had been tested and proved in mental health scenarios for over fifty years. Supervisor Bruce Gibson suggested not holding the item for a future discussion and approving the funds straight away to ensure the implementation could begin as soon as possible, but the motion to bring it back for a presentation at a future meeting was approved.

Following the consent agenda, a resolution was heard recognizing Nov. 7 through 13 as California Retired Teachers Week in San Luis Obispo County, followed by a resolution commemoration of JoAnn Switzer on her retirement from the Cattlemen’s Association.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

A project update regarding the decommissioning of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant was made pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The presentation showed the areas that would have buildings removed, as well as the buildings that would remain or be built. A land analysis would be done to analyze the ground to see if any radiation exists and would be handled and treated.

The last item of the day was a hearing to consider an appeal of the planning commission’s denial for a cannabis project located in Pozo. Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg had served on the Planning Commission at the time and voted against the project and made her disclaimer that she approached the project with the data and information available at the time and made a finding based on facts with no prejudice and that she plans to do so again today with her role as a supervisor.

The project is set to establish cannabis activities, including three acres of outdoor cultivation, 22,000 square feet of indoor cultivation, 16,000 square feet of ancillary nursery, 9.500 square feet of ancillary processing, and a parking modification to reduce the required parking spaces from 80 to 26. The project is within the Agriculture land use category in Pozo.

The appellant, Michael Aniff of Pegaso, Inc, expressed his appreciation for the neighbors who were willing to discuss the project and their concerns with him, and he did do his best to mitigate those concerns. Additionally, if the project were approved, he plans to live on-site, full time to be available to neighbors, handle the project, and oversee the operation. He had been informed that previously alfalfa, produce that requires a large amount of water, had been grown on the property and that the well was able to produce ample water. Discussion came up about the validity of the information he had been provided, but the planned water use for the project only intends to use 4 acre-feet of water, which is under the normal allowance.

Many neighbors spoke in opposition to the project, stating that the area was not intended for industrial operations and that the traffic, noise, and smell would ruin the quality of life the area has to offer. The issue of water use was brought up, and the fear that the addition of agriculture to the area would be devastating in the already drought conditions.

Supervisor Ortiz-Legg spoke on the issue, advising that this project was being overseen by someone interested in supporting the community and being a productive member of it, which is better than many operations that could come in if the land was put up for sale after the rejection of the project.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson highlighted the enforcement plans that exist to ensure that cannabis projects are monitored, and that noise or smell violations are handled. Chairperson Lynn Compton rebutted that smell nuisance is a very subjective item and that many people may be bothered by smells and not be able to find recourse.

The motion to uphold the appeal was made by Supervisor Gibson and failed to pass with a vote of 2-2, with Chairperson Compton and Supervisor Peschong in opposition. A motion to deny the appeal also failed with a 2-2 vote. County Council advised that in this case, the planning commissions decision would be upheld if the Board decided that further deliberation would not produce a successful vote. It was decided that the Board would not be able to come to an agreement, and the meeting was closed.

The agenda for the next meeting of the supervisors will be published on the county website when it becomes available at slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Board-of-Supervisors.aspx.