SAN LUIS CUNTY – A regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors was held on February 9 at 9:00 a.m.
The meeting began with an agreed agenda, which the Board approved by a majority of 5-0.
The floor was taken by Penny Borenstein, Director of Public Health, on agenda item 19, an update on COWID 19. Although the district has seen an increase over the past three months, she noted that “we are definitely moving in the right direction,” with the positivity rate increasing from a record 11.1% in January to 5.9% last week.
Borenstein concluded her report with an update on the state’s position on religious services in relation to the provisions of COVID-19, which came shortly after the Supreme Court gave churches a partial victory in their fight against California’s restrictions on indoor religious services. Borenstein said this was previously prohibited, but that religious organizations are now allowed to hold indoor services at 25 percent of their capacity in the purple and red levels and at 50 percent of their capacity when neighborhoods move to the orange or yellow levels. The only restriction that remains is that singing and chanting will still be prohibited because of the higher transmission speed of these activities.
The panel then heard from audience members who were concerned not only about the current homeless population, but also about those who have become homeless as a result of financial hardship.
Supervisor Bruce Gibson said in response to these calls, “The County has access to approximately $17 million that could be used to pay rent arrears and eventually threaten eviction. By some estimates, this could be less than half of the County’s rent arrears. …..I was very concerned about our ability to solve this problem”. He then suggested the creation of a task force to address the complex housing problem in the district. “It’s something I’m very interested in moving forward aggressively and effectively,” he said.
Laurel Weir, homeless services coordinator, will give a presentation on agenda item 22, the proposed State Emergency Solutions Funding Program – Corona Virus Grant (CA ESG-CV).
Measures considered by the OPG-CV Board are emergency shelter, outreach and rapid re-housing, but not homelessness prevention, as the state requires that all homeless people be housed first before homelessness prevention measures can be implemented.
The recommendation to the Board was to approve the appropriations listed in the table below, which was approved by a 5-0 vote.
Homeless Services Oversight Council (HSOC) Recommendations to the Board of Directors ESG-CV2
The Council then met in camera and, upon its return at 1:30 p.m., declared that the Council had voted in camera to authorize action against Spruce Communications for illegally eavesdropping on a pipeline during work on Monterey Road in Atascadero.
The Commission then considered an appeal (APPL2019-00019) by Kenneth Cottrell and Stephanie Shakofsky of the Planning Commission’s approval of the conditional use permit application (DRC2018-00036) for 13350 River Road LLC (formerly Helios Dayspring) to allow outdoor cultivation of cannabis on up to three acres, up to a maximum of 22 acres.1.000 square feet of indoor mixed cannabis cultivation, up to 27,570 square feet of additional cannabis cultivation, and operation of an unused dispensary at 13350 River Road, east of the community of San Miguel. The project falls under the Agricultural Land Use and Salinas River sub-district in the Northern County planning area.
The main objections related to water consumption and noise and odor impacts on the more than 40 surrounding homes located within 1,000 meters of the project.
After hearing from both the applicant (who currently operates facilities elsewhere under the name Natural Healing Centre) and the complainant on the issue, the Board moved on to comments from the public, where it heard from dozens of employees who described Natural Healing Centre as “a local business run by local residents, and we need the support of the local government to continue to make a difference and move forward.”
The action was supported by Jim Dantona, president and CEO of the ASO Chamber of Commerce, who said, “Once our state agencies set the rules, the Chamber advocates that our creators and dreamers can reasonably rely on those rules and not be subjected to changing, different or conflicting rules for similar purposes.”
Several community members, in opposition to the project, have expressed concerns about the accuracy of the data presented in the water study, the ability to effectively mitigate stench in high winds in the area, and the potential risk of the area having a low response time from the Sheriff’s Department.
San Miguel resident Janice Brown expressed concern about water use, citing the 2018 drought and the need to drill a new well near her home Mission Lane, which has been delayed for several months due to the high demand for well drilling throughout the district.
The Council returned for a final discussion of the issue and addressed their concerns.
Project manager Debbie Arnold, who has advocated in the past for a change in water use guidelines to allow agriculture to continue, said the project appears to require too many mitigation measures to be appropriate for the area.
Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg said, “It’s a legal industry, it’s an industry that has created a lot of jobs … But I think it’s really important for the applicant to reach out to their neighbors.” We need a good neighborhood policy. I think it’s something that people can handle.
The matter was put to a vote to dismiss the appeal and allow the project to proceed. Supervisors Arnold and President Compton voted against and Supervisors Gibson, Peschong and Ortiz-Legg voted in favor.
The full meeting can be found here, and the next meeting is scheduled for March 2.
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We’ll get through this together, Atascadero….
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