State wind tower plan hits snag

A Nipomo Mesa resident has appealed a county decision that allows the state to install independent wind-measuring towers at and near the Oceano Dunes.

The appeal means the application will go to the Board of Supervisors and possibly to the California Coastal Commission for review.

Warren Hoag, division manager for current planning at the county Planning and Building Department, estimated that the appeal “could be heard by the board sometime in February or March, depending on how full the agendas are.”

Katrina Dolinsky is challenging a Dec. 3 decision by a county planning department hearing officer that permitted State Parks to install five 30-foot towers to measure wind patterns at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

Dolinsky calls the state’s proposed study an attempt to “sabotage” the county’s existing air-pollution study, which concluded that particulate matter from the Dunes creates health hazards on the Nipomo Mesa, and that off-road vehicles at the Dunes exacerbate the problem.

Neither the county Board of Supervisors nor the county Air Pollution Control District sought the additional studies.

Among the charges Dolinsky makes are:

The proposed state study does not specify exactly what it hopes to find.

Although it is supposed to be a two-year study, the wording opens the door to “probable future projects.”

It does not spell out the costs to state taxpayers.

It creates “visually intrusive structures.”

Two of the five wind monitoring stations would be installed within the Dunes recreation area, two south of Oso Flaco Creek and one at the Cal Fire station in the Callender-Garrett village area of the Mesa, next to the ConocoPhillips refinery.