Mesa land sale offer on table
July 3, 2012
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
A 17-acre parcel atop the Nipomo Mesa would make an ideal site to augment the region’s future water supply, perhaps with a desalting plant, says a prominent local businessman, but water officials appear lukewarm to the idea.
Cliff Branch, one of the parcel’s owners, offered to sell the property to the Nipomo Services District last month, suggesting it could be used “as a future water source or as the site for a water treatment facility.” The parcel was considered for a variety of purposes in early 2008 by a previous district board, and implementation of a desalting plant was a favored concept, according to Branch.
“I passed Mr. Branch’s proposal on to our board, and I have heard nothing back,” said Michael LeBrun, general manager of the services district. “The offer was unsolicited.” LeBrun described the 2008 discussion as routine: “The board back then did its due diligence and looked at a number of options.”
The district is beginning anew a long-term water resources planning exercise, and Branch said it seemed like an appropriate time to propose use of the property for water development. Located near the intersection of Highway One and Callender Drive, the property is made up of nine separate parcels. A mutual water company is currently located there, providing well water to the property and to an adjoining residential development.
Branch said that “it is my understanding” that a desalting operation was being considered by the board four years ago at the site, and that “easements were negotiated with the state and various conduits and utility pipes were installed under Highway One, including a 14”-diameter water line sleeve in anticipation of future use.”
Branch noted that as the district begins another detailed look at its water situation, “I thought I might inquire as to whether the board might want to consider a ‘second look’… the property may provide the board with an excellent option for a minimal investment.”
LeBrun said the district today “is beginning another review of the possibilities, and the board will consider them all.”