Bob Jones Trail receives funds to begin negotiations to finish the project

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The County Board of Supervisors had a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Jul. 13 at 9 a.m. The meeting opened with a discussion on the consent agenda,

Public comment on item 11 prompted Supervisor John Peschong to pull the item to allow him time to meet with the Chumash and Salinan tribe regarding Morro Rock. This is in response to Peschong’s comment in the last meeting where the Salinan tribe was hoping to be granted permission to climb the rock for their traditional solstice services.

The consent agenda was passed with a 5-0 vote, with item 11 pulled from the agenda.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

During public comment of items not on the agenda, Helen Nolan, Deputy Director Clerk-Recorder, gave a brief update on upcoming election activities. The California Gubernatorial Recall election is set for Sept. 14. The candidate file period opened Jul. 9 and closes Jul. 16. All registered voters will receive a mail-in ballot, but there will also be in-person voting opportunities.

Many speakers commented during this period on Sunny Acres, expressing their support. The organization is a non-profit corporation that provides a clean and sober living environment for people with drug and alcohol addictions as well as homeless people and mental health.

The next item of Board Business was the appointment of one of the applicants to the Airport Land Use Commission. The first applicant was Adam Verdin, who has been a professional pilot for 30 years, and a lifelong resident of San Luis Obispo. The second candidate was Michael Cripe, who has been on the Airport Land Use Commission for seven years.

“We have two excellent, qualified candidates; I know both of them,” spoke Chairperson Lynn Compton. She went on to say that there are those looking to close the Oceano Airport, which she is against, “a slight edge goes to Adam because he is very involved in a lot of issues down in Oceano.” The motion to appoint Adam Verin was approved 4-1.

Item 38 was a submittal of a resolution authorizing Public Works to accept the $18.2m grant from the Active Transportation Program. The purpose of the funds are to finish out the Bob Jones Pathway, the goal of which was to provide a safe way for pedestrians and bikers to go from the city to the sea without being on the roadways. The remaining stretch is 4.5 miles long. The intention is to contact private properties regarding easements to fulfill this 4.5-mile stretch. Supervisor Peschong commented on the right of way negotiations for the easements and expressed his long-standing opposition to the imminent domain. Supervisor Debbie Arnold seconded the opposition and stated that at the origin, the plan stated that imminent domain would not be used and that at this point, there is still one unwilling property owner involved in the easement path.

“It would have been nice if we had all this settled and negotiated [the easements] …but unfortunately, that’s not how government works, and we need to have this grant to negotiate with him.” Chairperson Compton stated and continued that Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg has been in negotiations, and she has high hopes and that the land owner’s requests were not unreasonable.

The motion to accept the funds was passed 4-1, with Supervisor Arnold in opposition.

Item 39 was a drought condition report and a proclamation of local emergency due to drought conditions. Statewide there is a water shortfall. The county reservoir levels are anywhere from 19-64 percent. Most of the county is in extreme drought, which is currently D3, and will likely be D4 before the rainy season reaches the county. Last week Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency at Lopez Lake. SLO county receives water allocation from the state, and depending on drought conditions; this could be anywhere from 15 to 0 percent in 2022.

The motion to proclaim a state of emergency passed 5-0.

Item 40 was a hearing to consider an appeal of a project in Avila to allow the units to be considered for vacation rentals. The appellant clarified that the request was not to make any unit into a vacation rental at this time, but rather to allow, once sold, for the homeowner to apply for a vacation rental license, following the guidelines within the city of not having a unit within 50 feet of another unit.

Public comment on the item heard from many residents opposed to living next to vacation rentals and their issues with vacationers in the area.

Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg made a motion to uphold the planning commissions decision to deny this project for vacation rentals. Supervisor Bruce Gibson seconded the motion, stating that he believes the planning commission understood and considered the negative impact of even the potential of more vacation rentals in this project.

“I believe, if the appeal is upheld, each individual until when they’re sold, would have to come back and apply for a vacation rental permit,” clarified Supervisor Peschong, stating that he felt they might be jumping the gun, and he would vote to uphold the appeal but wasn’t sure he’d have the votes.

The motion to deny the appeal was passed 3-2, with Supervisors Peschong and Arnold in opposition.

The Board went to closed session with nothing to report. It then moved on to item 42, a hearing to consider an appeal by Christina Maldonado of the Planning Department’s approval of a Minor Use Permit for SLO Cal Roots to establish a cannabis cultivation area.

The board heard from the appellant and their desire to have this handled and not continued to a future date. Next, they heard from the applicant, “We’re really intent on offering a project that is respectful and integrated with the local community,” spoke Austen Connella. He then proposed continuing so they could present a modified and reduced project.

The Board decided to postpone to a future date and moved off calendar to no date certain. The motion passed 4-1 with Supervisor Arnold in opposition.

The last item on the agenda was the discussion and direction regarding the appointment of a person to fill the office of Clerk-Recorder. The process would be a special meeting to hear from applicants who pass the minimum requirements set by law for the position.

Supervisor Arnold made a motion to approve staffs recommendations on minimum requirements, with seven candidates to hear from, and use the open date of Oct. 12 for the special meeting to interview candidates. The motion passed 3-2 with Supervisors Gibson and Ortiz-Legg in opposition.

The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is set for Jul. 20 at 9 a.m., and the agenda is available on the district’s website.