Oceano residents submit petition to stop CSD from selling water

A few Oceano residents seeking to prevent the local services district from selling any of the community’s water on a permanent basis have turned in a petition with 577 signatures — about 200 more than needed.

The signatures still need to be verified by the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office. Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald said 341 valid signatures — 10 percent of Oceano’s 3,405 registered voters — are needed before the proposed initiative could move ahead.

Five Oceano residents published a notice on Wednesday signaling their intention to circulate a petition that, if successful, would require the Oceano Community Services District’s voters to approve any permanent sale of water.

The residents — Terry Sweetland, Pamela Dean, Cathy Young, William Smith and Greg Jenkins — maintain in the petition that permanent water sales to developers and entities outside of the community would be “putting Oceano’s future growth and sustainability at risk.”

Their protest comes as the district is considering proposals to sell excess water to two developments in Pismo Beach. The district board has discussed selling water to Arroyo Grande but negotiations have not moved ahead.

The Clerk-Recorder’s Office has 30 days to verify the signatures. If enough valid signatures were collected, then the district board has two options: It could adopt the ordinance as proposed, or put it before local voters.

The ordinance would require any details of a proposed sale, including impacts to Oceano, presented in a report prepared by a registered water engineer and a certified public accountant and mailed to every registered voter in the district no later than 60 days before an election.