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Justin Vineyards, real estate agent seek to rezone land in Paso Robles

How loss of oak trees could lead to 'the end of our way of life'

Rancher Neil Heaton talks about large-scale oak tree removal and other work on property owned by The Wonderful Company and managed by Justin Vineyards near Paso Robles. "This development, if allowed to continue, will mean the end of our way of lif
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Rancher Neil Heaton talks about large-scale oak tree removal and other work on property owned by The Wonderful Company and managed by Justin Vineyards near Paso Robles. "This development, if allowed to continue, will mean the end of our way of lif

Justin Vineyards and Winery and a Paso Robles real estate agent are joining forces to subdivide and rezone more than 200 acres on the city’s east side.

An initial environmental study made public by the city of Paso Robles on Friday lists Justin Vineyards and Tom Erskine as applicants looking to subdivide and rezone three parcels into 14 separate lots in a 212-acre area north of Wisteria Lane, south of Dry Creek Road and west of Airport Road.

Two parcels are owned by Erskine himself and Ranch and Coast Properties Inc., one of his companies. The remaining parcel is owned by Roll Real Estate Development LLC, a landholding subsidiary of Wonderful Co., which also owns Justin as a brand.

According to documents filed with the city, Erskine and Justin plan to subdivide 77.3 acres into 13 lots and have applied to change the zoning from the existing parks and “open space and residential agriculture” to “commercial light industrial and planned industrial” for 12 of the lots. A 134.7-acre “remainder lot” will not undergo further subdivision and would remain zoned for residential agriculture.

A parcel of land on Wisteria Lane is also owned by Justin and would be be rezoned commercial light industrial. Barrels and bins stamped with “Justin” could be seen outside an unmarked building on the property Friday. It was unclear how the building is used.

Erskine did not respond to several calls for comment. Wonderful Co. spokesman Mark Carmel said Saturday that there are no plans yet to build on the land after it is subdivided and rezoned. Industrially zoned land can be used for warehousing, winemaking and other types of manufacturing.

According to a project description prepared by Kirk Consulting, the rezoning will “provide an economic benefit to the city and its residents, as it will create the opportunity for increased commercial and employment growth within the city limits.”

The description also states the project could provide up to 440,000 sqaure feet of planned industrial development and 183,200 square feet of light industrial development.

The project would include construction of a two-lane road that would eventually connect Wisteria Lane and Airport Road. Erskine and Justin would build the part of the road that extends from Wisteria Lane through their properties, which would end in a cul-de-sac until the city builds a connection to Airport Road.

The applicants have requested permission to remove one oak tree, which city staff describe as very old and almost hollow.

The rezoning is set to go before the Paso Robles Planning Commission on July 12 at a 6:30 p.m. meeting.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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