A controversial expansion of an olive oil processing and wine tasting center west of Paso Robles will move ahead after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday turned down an appeal of the project.
Supervisors voted unanimously to allow the company Pasolivo to hold up to 20 events with as many as 200 guests a year with no more than two events a month. They also placed a condition on the permit banning vacation rentals and bed-and-breakfast inns on the site.
Supervisors allowed the company to add two new buildings to expand olive oil processing areas, a tasting room, retail sales and a commercial kitchen. A large barn would be demolished to make way for the two new buildings.
Pasolivo Ranch is located at 8530 Vineyard Drive near the community of Adelaida. The ranch has 6,500 olive trees on 45 acres.
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In their appeal, Wilton and Helen Webster, Ron Jolliffe and Collen Runyen raised a variety of concerns about the expansion plans including traffic impacts, water usage, changes to the rural character of the area and plans to remodel a residence that could be used as a vacation rental.
"This project was proposed and approved without any input from the neighbors," Runyen said. "I believe the winery numbers on the Vineyard Drive corridor has reached the saturation point."
After the hearing, appellant Wilton Webster said he was disappointed with the decision and the appellants will consult their attorneys on whether to file a lawsuit.
The appellants also argued that the barn scheduled for demolition is an historic structure. However, county planning staff determined that the barn does not meet the criteria for an historic resource and is not culturally significant. Supervisors agreed.
Consultant Jamie Kirk, spokeswoman for Pasolivo, said the emphasis of the project is on olive oil processing. The applicants scaled down the project to address the concerns of the neighbors. Originally, they had wanted 25 events a year.
"There is no request for a vacation rental or bed-and-breakfast component to the project," Kirk said.
Supervisors said they added the ban on those two types of businesses to eliminate that possibility.
More than 20 members of the public commented on the project, and all were opposed. They said the project will have significant impacts on the area and many lamented the loss of the barn, which is thought to be about a century old.
"That barn is older than any of us sitting here," said neighbor Claudia Webster. "It is a classic barn, big, red and old and represents our agricultural heritage."