Paso Robles will soon be home to a 290-space RV resort, in spite of a fight that pitted rural residents against a local developer looking to attract more visitors to the increasingly tourist-rich east side of town.
Tom Erskine of Vino Vista LLC plans to build Cabernet Links RV Resort on a 230-acre property near the intersection of Jardine and Beacon roads that had previously been subdivided into 39 lots for industrial and light manufacturing uses. The site is currently home to the 18-hole Links Golf Course, and Erskine wants to add vineyards, walking trails, a restaurant, a convenience store and a brewery or wine tasting location.
Erskine said he plans to begin improving existing buildings on the site while he waits for state approval of the RV park. He’ll build the entire facility over the course of three to four years, although he hopes to begin renting the first spaces in about a year.
The project drew opposition from neighbors concerned about road conditions and traffic, water use and sewer system issues.
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After the city Planning Commission approved the resort in February, residents appealed the decision to the City Council. They cited their own concerns, along with a February Caltrans letter stating the developer’s traffic study didn’t accurately reflect the impact the project would have on the Jardine Road-Highway 46 East intersection.
Although a standing-room-only crowd of dozens of neighbors living along Dry Creek, Jardine and Beacon roads — all of which would likely be impacted by traffic from the development — spoke against the project at Tuesday night’s meeting, council members unanimously approved it after adding some conditions.
“I’d like to invite you all to come down to Dry Creek Road,” said John Gallenstein. “You better bring a four-wheel drive with a lot of springs.”
The east side of Paso Robles is quickly becoming a hub for wine country tourists. City Council members in January approved the Destino Paso Resort, a hotel complex that’s slated to bring almost 300 new guest rooms to Airport Road.
This is my home you’re stealing from me.
Elizabeth Schumann, Deer Creek Way resident
Ravine Water Park and Wine Country RV Resort near the Airport Road-Highway 46 intersection also draw tourists to that side of town, as does Vina Robles Winery and Amphitheatre.
But area neighbors — many county residents who said they moved to the area for quiet, rural living — said they’re not always in favor of such growth, creating a balancing act for city officials.
“This is my home you’re stealing from me,” said Elizabeth Schumann, a county resident who lives on Deer Creek Way, just east of Jardine Road.
In the case of Cabernet Links, Erskine was willing to make some concessions to residents, including moving the entrance to the resort off Jardine Road and onto nearby Aerotech Center Way. He also agreed to move the planned convenience store into the center of the resort to keep traffic and customers away from the Jardine Road residential area.
To prevent the need for a large-scale septic system, the city will continue pursuing efforts to extend sewer and water lines to the Estrella Warbird Museum on Dry Creek Road. Until then, Erskine will only be allowed to build the first phase of the resort complex, and will use a system that temporarily stores wastewater in a tank before crews haul it off for treatment.
In addition, Councilman John Hamon pushed for a left-turn lane to be added to Jardine Road, in order to accommodate slower-moving RV traffic.
These concessions, together with Erskine’s planned improvements to Aerotech Center Way and Jardine Road ultimately satisfied council members.
“Our property rights end where the next guy’s begin,” Councilman Fred Strong said.