Letters to the Editor

Forget the faux farms. SLO needs housing

This rendering offers a bird’s eye view of the proposed San Luis Ranch project bordering Madonna Road and Oceanaire Drive in San Luis Obispo.
This rendering offers a bird’s eye view of the proposed San Luis Ranch project bordering Madonna Road and Oceanaire Drive in San Luis Obispo.

I’m a farmer and I think there is no reason to leave room for real farm land on the proposed Avila Ranch and the San Luis Ranch developments.

I’m very sad to see this beautiful soil paved over. But we need housing in the city of San Luis Obispo, and the development of these properties is a natural extension of what already exists. In the current plans, the proposed “ag land” is an oasis in the middle of development.

Yes, it’s too bad the current farmers will not be growing bell peppers or napa cabbage or brussels sprouts on these properties. But, realistically, whatever farm property these plans call for is not economically feasible to farm surrounded by development. With these locations far from farm headquarters, it means farmers must transport equipment and workers back and forth numerous times through traffic to work in those fields. That costs time and money. Farming is not a nostalgic occupation as some may believe. It’s a business, and farmers must make a profit (at least in some years!).

Don’t pretend that leaving “agricultural land” in a developmental plan will look like real farming. Rather, give these new homes more room and privacy, parks and community gardens. That’s what our beautiful city needs most. Thank you, but us farmers will continue to farm down the road.

Andrea Shapiro Chavez, Arroyo Grande

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