Proposal for composting facility on Orcutt Road is scrapped

Neighbors’ opposition forces the applicants to reconsider and search for a new location

dsneed@thetribunenews.comMarch 25, 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

Because of intense opposition by neighbors, an application to establish a commercial composting facility on Orcutt Road just south of San Luis Obispo has been withdrawn.

Tim Perozzi, the owner of the rural property, and Ron Rinell, of Bunyon Brothers Tree Service, sent a letter to the county planning department Monday withdrawing the proposal.

They also asked the county and community to develop a list of more suitable sites.

The letter came three days before the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission was scheduled to hold a second hearing on the project that was expected to be as contentious as one held last month.

At that meeting, neighbors of the nearby Arbors and Islay Hill communities packed the room to vehemently object to the project, saying a commercial composting facility is a good idea, but not near residential neighborhoods. Truck traffic and odors from the facility were their main concerns.

On Tuesday, resident John Lamb said he was pleased to hear that the application was withdrawn. His main concern was traffic congesting his neighborhood.

“That’s very good news,” he said, adding that he would notify his neighbors of their victory.

In their letter to the county, Perozzi and Rinell said they had never intended to offend anyone or generate the anger that residents displayed. They said they were harassed and their livelihoods and persons threatened.

“We encourage a spirited debate on the facts; however, we will not tolerate abuse and ignorance,” they wrote.

“In all honesty it is not worth it for us to continually be faced with this level of negative attitude and adversity from our project and the property’s neighbors, with the likelihood that we will be faced with continued harassment in the future as we proceeded to operate this composting business.”

Perozzi and Rinell urged the community and county officials to list possible sites for a composting facility that would be able to take green waste and put it to good use. The facility would have taken green waste and horse manure and turned it into soil amendment products.

“Our withdrawal of this application should not be cause for celebration, as our local landfills continue to fill up with green waste material and/or materials will continue to be trucked long distances to out-of-county compost facilities,” they said.

The Planning Commission will meet as scheduled Thursday to hear other items, but the hearing on the composting facility will not be held, said Ellen Carroll, county environmental coordinator. The letter withdrawing the plan will be posted on the county’s website.

“Now that they have withdrawn their application, that’s pretty much it,” she said.

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