The Cambrian

Recycling center can stay on Tamsen Drive, with conditions

The recycling center on Tamsen Drive will be able to remain where it is, the county Planning Commission decided, but with some strict guidelines.
The recycling center on Tamsen Drive will be able to remain where it is, the county Planning Commission decided, but with some strict guidelines.

Cambria’s recycling center at the top of Tamsen Drive can stay there if it changes some of its business practices, according to a unanimous decision Thursday, May 26, by San Luis Obispo County planning commissioners.

That decision to grant the operation a minor use permit came with some strict new rules, however.

Planning Commissioner Ken Topping of Cambria said in a phone interview Friday, May 27, that he and his peers are requiring that the center be open only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; install a motion-sensitive light and camera to illuminate and record anybody who enters the area at other times; and that all crushing of glass and cans be done somewhere else, to reduce the noise generated by the operation.

“This is a situation where there are no easy answers,” Topping said of the state requirement for Cambria to provide such a center, the lack of other locations that meet all the requirements and the desire of neighbors for the center to relocate somewhere else (or be substantially less intrusive) so the property owners can enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere in their homes that overlook the site.

This is a situation where there are no easy answers.

Ken Topping, county planning commissioner

The center has been in operation in the Tamsen Drive area since approximately 1987, and at the present site since 1989, according to research done recently by county planners. However, no permit for its operation or location had been issued, according to county code enforcers.

County planners, center owners and other interested parties have searched for an alternate location where the state would allow the center to operate, but say they have been unable to find one within that zone.

The center provides a Cambria site where consumers can return aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, receiving a refund of deposits they paid when they bought the products in those containers.

According to county planner Cody Sheel, the neighbors or others can appeal the commissioners’ decision with 14 days of the vote.

Neighbor Kay Morrison said Tuesday, May 31, that she and her husband haven’t yet decided whether to appeal, but they’d like to see if the situation improves before taking further action.

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