Neighbors oppose proposed composting facility on Orcutt Road

The planned enterprise on Orcutt Road south of San Luis Obispo is drawing opposition from residents who fear increased traffic and odors

dsneed@thetribunenews.comFebruary 22, 2014 

San Luis Obispo residents living on Huckleberry Lane and Spanish Oaks Drive, left, fear the effects of a composting facility proposed for an adjacent parcel.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Plans to establish a commercial composting facility that would generate as many as 150 truck trips a day on Orcutt Road just south of San Luis Obispo have angered some neighbors.

The proposal will go before the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission on Thursday. County planning staff is recommending approval, but dozens of residents of the nearby Arbors neighborhood are expected to attend the meeting to urge commissioners to deny the project.

“My main concern is congestion of traffic,” said John Lamb, who lives on Spanish Oaks Drive. “It could lead to a big mess.”

The Bunyon Brothers/Perozzi green waste management project would be at 4400 Orcutt Road, across the street from Islay Hill Park and near the Arbors subdivision. Composting material would be generated on two 4-acre sites on the property.

Feedstock consisting of green waste and horse manure would be trucked in, ground up, mixed and stacked in long, narrow piles called windrows for curing. It would take four months for the feedstock to be turned into composting material and trucked away.

Joseph Boud, a private planner for the project, said Cal Poly has a similar composting operation that has been very successful and has not generated complaints.

“These are the kinds of things people are going to have to start accepting if we are going to have integrated waste management,” he said.

Neighbors have a long list of concerns, with traffic impacts at the top. The facility is expected to generate 129 truck trips a day with a maximum of 150 round trips a day allowed.

Most of the truck traffic would be coming from, and returning to the north to, San Luis Obispo and travel along Tank Farm Road. The facility would not be open to the public.

In a letter to the Planning Commission, Jim and Charlene Hopp of Spanish Oaks Drive called the volume of traffic “unconscionably high” at a level that would severely impact neighbors.

They also cited concerns about dust, odors, noise and scenic impacts.

“Home purchasers could never have foreseen this intense commercial activity,” they said.

Staff has concluded that the project’s environmental impacts would be minimal and could be managed through various mitigation requirements. These include planting vegetation to screen the windrows from view, watering roads to reduce dust and having an odor-control plan.

Despite the added truck trips, Orcutt Road would maintain the highest level of service for traffic, which means traffic would continue to flow freely at or above posted speed limits, county planner Xzandrea Fowler wrote in a staff report to the commission.

“The existing wide shoulders and bike lanes provide adequate room for bicyclist and motorist to share Orcutt Road in the vicinity of the project site safely,” she said.

Thursday’s hearing begins 9 a.m. at the County Government Center at 1055 Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo. Decisions by the Planning Commission can be appealed to the county Board of Supervisors.

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