Sheriff Ian Parkinson shares appreciation for telecommunication employees

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The County Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, Apr. 6, for a regularly scheduled meeting.

The meeting opened with approval of the consent agenda and then an update from Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Director, on the current state of COVID-19.

The county remains in the Red Tier, as the case positivity rate is currently around 6.2 and needs to be at 5.9 in order to move to the Orange Tier. Borenstein addressed the slight uptick in cases which she states may be a reaction to St Patrick’s day. While there’s no hard data to show this, historically, holidays have created an increase in cases.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

Vaccinations will soon be open to anyone 16 and older, and currently, county-wide, there have been 142,571 doses administered.

The next item was the submittal of April 2021 as “Month of the Child” and “Child Abuse Prevention Month,” as well as “San Luis Obispo County Crime Victims’ Rights Awareness Month.” Next was a submittal by the Sheriff-Coroner to proclaim the week of Apr. 11 to Apr. 17 as “San Luis Obispo County National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.”

“Even though they’re not on scene, they experience that more than people truly realize…Hats off to everyone who works behind the radio and phones in any center. They deserve a lot more recognition than they get on a daily basis; I’ll tell you that,” Sheriff Ian Parkinson said regarding the telecommunication employees.

Following that, the Board discussed item 24 to hear from Tim Reed from Pozo Management Group for an appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of a Conditional Use Permit to establish 2.98 acres of outdoor cannabis cultivation. Supervisor Debbie Arnold recused herself from the discussion because of personal property in the area.

The Planning Commission denied the project on the basis of lack of water, as well as stating that the project doesn’t fit the existing community.

After being denied by the Planning Commission, the appellant reduced the scope of their project to reduce the size by 50,000 feet, removed the plan for manufacturing and commercial buildings, and changed the project to require zero tree removal. Additionally, the appellant showed that studies were completed, as well as an engineered water demand study determining that there was sufficient water for the original project before it was reduced.

Tim Reed also brought up that this is an ongoing use of the property that started 16 years ago and operates in a near-invisible way. Medical marijuana has been grown on the property with no complaints from neighbors. Reed finished his presentation by stating, “We deserve the chance to prove we can continue to operate without impact to our neighbors for the next five years.”

Public comment on the issue ranged from messages of support for the project, the job opportunities, and the tax revenue to opposition against the project based on compatibility in the neighborhood, lack of water, and the increased traffic that would be brought to the small roads of Pozo.

The Supervisor discussion was split with Supervisor Peschong and Chairperson Compton in favor of upholding the Planning Commission’s denial and Supervisor Gibson and Supervisor Ortiz-Legg in favor of the appeal.

“I think the planning commission, while I have enormous respect for them, got this wrong.” Stated Gibson.

Peschong made a motion to deny the appeal, which was seconded by Compton. The vote was split 2-2, which results in the Planning Commission’s denial of the project being upheld.

The last item on the agenda was the update on the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Ordinance, with staff recommendations to approve a contract with Rincon Consultants for a total of $244,668, add one full-time limited-term planner for 14 months, approve a corresponding budget adjustment in the amount of $266,388 for Fund Center 142, by a 4/5 vote and to direct staff to return with an ordinance amendment extending the expiration date of the Agricultural Offset Requirements to at least until April 2022.

The Board heard public comment and then discussed the water issues, with Supervisor Arnold proposing a motion to use the crop water duty factor, keep the ordinance good until 2045, use Tier One and Two, use the Fugro map, bring it back for funding, and finalization of the Rincon Contract during the budget process, and bring the end of the ordinance amendment to Jun. 1, 2022. With this proposal, the look-back period would remain at the suggested six years.

The motion was put to a vote and voted for with a 3-2 vote, with Supervisors Ortiz-Legg and Gibson voting against it.

The next meeting is scheduled for Apr. 20, and the agenda and links to the meeting can be found on the Board’s website.