SLO County Roundup

Paso Robles

The City Council agreed this week to ask state leaders to urge legislation that would allow local voters to approve price breaks for low-income households on water and sewer bills.

Proposition 218 — The Right to Vote on Taxes Act approved by California voters in 1996, which mandates a public review of local government levies — forbids discounts for select classes of users.

Mayor Duane Picanco agreed to sign letters urging state Sen. Abel Maldonado and Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee to change that. The letters were mailed after Tuesday’s meeting.

City officials believe giving discounts for the low-income bracket on the bill, instead of relying on aid from a voluntary donation pool, could help more customers.

— Tonya Strickland

North County

A winery and farm stand to be spread over 35 acres on Green Valley Road halfway between Templeton and Highway 1 stalled Tuesday, as the Board of Supervisors asked the applicant to provide more information about water distribution rights between him and his neighbors.

Landscaper Joe Mistretta and his family bought the rights to build in 2009. He planned to hold 12 events yearly with no more than 150 people, convert an existing storage building to a farm stand, and, eventually, build a winery at 8345 Green Valley Road.

Many Mistretta family members testified on his behalf, and one neighbor said, “People should be allowed to pursue their dreams.” Mistretta said he already had made improvements to the property.

Others protested, however, and supervisors noted a lack of clarity about whether there is sufficient water available to Mistretta to allow him to go forward as he would like.

“I like what they want to do,” Supervisor Adam Hill said, but “there are some things that need to be straightened out.”

Supervisors continued the hearing until March 23.

— Bob Cuddy

Arroyo Grande

County planners will hold a second scoping meeting Tuesday for the Excelaron oil project in Huasna Valley.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the South County Regional Center, 800 W. Branch St., Arroyo Grande. The purpose of the meeting is to give the public a chance to tell planners what issues they want addressed in the environmental analysis of the project, which will begin later this year.

The Planning Commission held a previous scoping meeting on the project Jan. 14. A broad range of environmental concerns were brought up including traffic, water and air pollution and fire hazards.

The company proposes drilling as many as 12 oil wells on the property 12 miles east of Arroyo Grande. The oil would be trucked by as many as six tankers a day to a refinery. As much as 840 barrels, or 35,280 gallons, of oil a day would be produced.

— David Sneed

San Luis Obispo

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will tour San Luis Obispo Goodwill’s Business and Career One-Stop Center and meet with its employees and job seekers today at 11 a.m. at 880 Industrial Way.

Capps will discuss federal efforts to assist the unemployed with job-training assistance and extended unemployment and health care benefits.

Last summer, San Luis Obispo County’s Workforce Investment Board selected Goodwill to operate the county’s Business and Career One-Stop Centers.

The centers match employers with job seekers and assist the board with economic development and employer retention services. They offer training referrals, career counseling, job listings, and similar employment-related programs.

The One-Stop Career Center in San Luis Obispo helped 1,920 people find jobs from last July through the end of January, and countywide One-Stop Centers helped 3,531 people find jobs during the same period, according to Capps.

Capps represents San Luis Obispo and coastal parts of the county.

— Bob Cuddy