A repeal of the ordinance will be on the Board of County Supervisors Feb. 7 meeting
PASO ROBLES — Nearly two months after its initial approval, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted to rescind the Paso Basin Land Use Management Area Planting Ordinance during a special meeting held on Sunday, Jan. 29.
The ordinance, passed in December 2022, came as an update to the original ordinance adopted in 2015. The new ordinance would limit farmers to 25 acre-feet per year (AFY) for the next 22 years and allow new irrigated crops to be planted. However, the ordinance came with several regulations unrelated to water itself, including regulations on dust control.
Any farmer or rancher in the Paso Basin who rotates to a different irrigated crop each year/season will be subject to the new ordinance. But, any same crop and acreage that has been in production within six years preceding March 1, 2023, would be exempted.
However, after the Jan. 29 vote, farmers and ranchers won’t have to worry about the December ordinance that was greatly opposed by Farm Bureau, Cattlemen’s Association, Grower-Shippers Association, and Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.
The rescinding of the ordinance was approved with a 3-1 vote — Supervisor John Peschong (District 1) voting no and Supervisor Debbie Arnold (District 4) not being present at the meeting.
Supervisor Jimmy Paulding, who was sworn in on Jan. 3, stated why he did not support the ordinance as it stood: “It might help a handful of property owners, but it does so at the expense of the vast majority of growers in the Paso (Robles Groundwater) Basin, and mitigation measures set a dangerous precedent for regulating agriculture in SLO County.”
Resinding the December ordinance means the former Agricultural Offset Ordinance that has been in place since 2015 has been reinstated. It is expected the supervisors will extend the Agricultural Offset Ordinance until 2028.
According to the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, they “will continue working with all of our Supervisors to address problems with the Agricultural Offset Ordinance and find longterm solutions to manage groundwater through the Paso Basin Groundwater Sustainability Plan process.”
A repeal of the ordinance will be on the Board of County Supervisors Feb. 7 meeting agenda.