After five hours of discussion, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission once again delayed a decision on a proposed agricultural cluster that would bring up to 101 new homes to the Laetitia Vineyard and Winery.
The commission heard several hours of public comments on the proposed Reserve at Laetitia development at its last meeting Aug. 13 — all in opposition to the project — but chose to continue the discussion to Thursday.
The discussion spanned most of the afternoon, after a request regarding permits for oil wells at Price Canyon Road dominated the morning. That item also was delayed to a future meeting.
Commissioner Ken Topping suggested just before 5 p.m. that the commission continue the discussion on the Reserve at Laetitia to Oct. 29 so the panel could have more time to review the county staff report and environmental impact report and obtain updated data on the status of the well on the property.
The project calls for 101 homes to be built on part of the 1,910-acre property in what is called an agricultural cluster, which allows residential development on farmland as long as the homes are clustered together and have minimal impact on surrounding agricultural uses. About 1,787 acres of the property would be preserved in open space agreements.
County planning staff recommended denying the project because it violates several planning standards, specifically residential density. Planners suggested fewer homes, clustered closer together, to lessen the project’s environmental impact.
Project manager Vic Montgomery argued that the developer, Janneck Limited, has addressed all of the county’s concerns.
The plans have drawn intense criticism from neighboring Nipomo residents, who claim the development will endanger already stressed water resources in the area. Several speakers during public comment also pointed to what they called outdated water data from the applicant’s 2010-11 water pumping test as a reason to delay the project.
“We have had a significant change in conditions since the (pumping test) was done,” Nipomo resident Arthur Goldfinger said. “There is a drought.”
Planners have received 104 letters in opposition to the project since 2008, with 63 sent after the first environmental impact report was issued that year. Forty-one letters have been received for the current proposed project, many from the same writers.
“I urge you to put this to bed,” Nipomo resident Laurie Laughlin told the commission. “We don’t want this. It’s done.”
Any decision by the Planning Commission will likely be appealed to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.