San Luis Obispo County supervisors unanimously denied an appeal Tuesday of a new 21-home subdivision in the Cypress Ridge development on the Nipomo Mesa.
The cluster development would cover 40 acres and include two open-space parcels, an access road and trails on Zenon Way. The county Planning Commission approved the plans in December.
The project was appealed by San Luis Obispo resident Kevin P. Rice of the group Integrity SLO, who argued the development committed 23 violations of county planning and environmental guidelines.
Many of the issues centered on air quality problems on the Nipomo Mesa, where dust levels frequently violate state air quality standards.
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Rice said Tuesday that his appeal was not intended to stop the development but to allow time to prepare an environmental impact report to assess any potentially significant effects.
He argued that the project would draw people into the area who may be more sensitive to air pollutants.
“You have a responsibility to do an EIR to evaluate these things,” he said.
In a staff report, county planners said the project is in an area that since 2003 has only reported one day of air quality in a range that’s defined as being “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” such as children and seniors.
“This project will not increase the number of exceedances we experience now on the Nipomo Mesa,” said Aeron Arlin-Genet of the county’s Air Pollution Control District.
Rice’s appeal argues that a “holistic particulate matter solution for the Nipomo Mesa is necessary,” and that even modest emissions from the project would increase the number of days that state or several air quality standards are exceeded.
“Every little bit of dust adds something,” he said.
Project representative Cindy Chambers of Wallace Group said there’s no evidence the project would send excess dust into the air during construction.
County staff also responded that a solution is already in place: Rule 1001, which requires State Parks to employ measures needed to reduce particulate matter coming from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
The rule was adopted in November 2011 because the air district determined that Oceano Dunes was responsible for high particulate levels on the Nipomo Mesa that exceed state health standards about 65 days a year.