Supervisors battle property advocates on ag ordinance
November 29, 2012
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is trying to finalize revisions to a contentious “ag cluster” ordinance before Debbie Arnold replaces Jim Patterson in January. [Tribune]
Proposed changes to the ordinance make it more difficult for rural landowners to build houses on properties zoned as agricultural and direct development closer to urban areas. The issue pits the environmentalist board majority against property rights advocates in the county.
During the first board hearing on the ag cluster revisions, numerous speakers protested the proposed ordinance, describing it as an unjust taking of land. The supervisors decided to postpone the hearing until December 4, and one now claims that the Coalition of Labor Agriculture and Business is trying to filibuster a vote.
COLAB representative Mike Brown, who opposes the ordinance, has requested several times that the board notify all individuals who have property affected by the ag cluster revisions. The board has refused to do so, choosing instead to run a newspaper ad about the hearing.
In response, COLAB has requested in its weekly newsletter that concerned citizens attend the December 4 hearing and bring five friends.
“It sounds like they’re trying to filibuster,” Supervisor Bruce Gibson told the Tribune. “That’s not going to work.”
Brown has also requested that the board let people who spoke at the initial November 13 hearing speak again next week. The board has refused to do so and, after Brown made the request during general public comment on November 20, Patterson responded by saying that COLAB has asked people to bring five friends on December 4.
Patterson, who did not allow Brown a follow-up comment, told the Tribune that the board will complete work on the ordinance before the year’s final three meeting are over.
“It’s not that complicated,” Patterson said. “We’re just trying to plug a few holes. All we’re doing is making a few changes.”
One such change limits ag cluster development to within two miles of a designated urban area. The current ordinance allows ag clusters within five miles from urban areas.