Dalidio ranch in escrow

May 23, 2013

Ernie_tractorBy KAREN VELIE

Ernie Dalidio abandoned his plan to create a 131-acre mixed-use-development on his land adjacent to Highway 101 near Madonna Road in San Luis Obispo, and put the property up for sale.

The property, listed at $19,750,000, is currently in escrow.

The proposed sale is the latest chapter in an illicit 20-year battle to prevent Dalidio from developing his land.

James and Thomas Copeland, the owners of numerous properties in San Luis Obispo, battled against the project in an attempt to protect their business interests, hiding under protection of an LLC.

In 2010, the California Fair Political Practices Commission levied $80,000 in fines against the Copeland brothers and former banker David Booker for committing 16 campaign violations in their secretive battle against Dalidio’s project.

The state’s three-year investigation into the funneling of cash and gifts to the campaigns to stop Dalidio’s project revealed the city’s mayor, Jan Marx, was part of the unlawful effort.

Dalidio says he has had enough, and wants to move on.

“I have been at it for 20 years,” Dalidio said Thursday. “It is time to move on with our lives.”

San Luis Obispo County voters approved Measure J in 2006, entitling the property to uses including 530,000 square feet of commercial/retail, 198,000 square feet of business/office, 60 residential units, an organic farm and farmer’s market and sports fields. The property lies within San Luis Obispo city boundaries, but it is unincorporated.



I have to laugh out loud about the notion of “open space” in SLO.

What about that weed-choked vacant lot across from Ben Franklin’s Sandwiches? It cost taxpayer $$$ to buy and $$$ to maintain. For what? It’s an ugly eyesore. Talk about a bureaucratic wet dream.

How about that strip of “open space” between Alfano (Kimball) Motors and the Dalidio property? How much does that cost taxpayers to maintain? And for what, it’s just another eyesore.


The weed-choked vacant lot across the street from the CHP station on California is also a real beaut. I wonder what that costs taxpayers each year to keep it cleaned and mowed?


For all the NIMBY’s, here is the thing where you are ALL hypocrites. You bitch and whine that you want open space and projects that fit in. I agree don’t just pave over things willy nilly. BUT developement and progress happens, unless you are all going to stop recreating and we don’t need any more housing or jobs for all the new people that we create ourselves.

That said, I think that yes development can and should be nice aesthetically. I have no problem with that. This project was and is a very nice fit and compromise all the way around.

So back to my hypocrite. DON’T sit here and argue that it is going to look like Oxnard or whatever B.S. If you don’t like or want development then come clean but don’t lie that it is or was not a fit for that area.


An excellent 29-year Time Lapse of various spots on earth… shows development (especially Shanghai and Dubai). So, yes, development will always happen; however, if left unchecked, it can be remarkably fast.


Hmm twenty nine years. How much has population on earth gone up since then? Maybe a least a billion? Where should we put all these people? This is EXACTLY my point. If and till people all agree to stop procreating we WILL continue to grow. If every single person on the face of the plant takes the mind set of SLO that we should grow no more but also not build outside our bounderies, then WHERE are we to put more people?

I am sick and tired of people wanting this and not being practical to the fact that like it or not folks the REALITY is we have and always will continue to grow. So the only viable thing to do is plan growth wisely.

Spirit Filled

I say keep those babies coming. If the good Lord will feed the birds and etc. He will provide for the babies as well. People need to co-operate in the Lords plan for us.

God Bless


Interesting that you mentioned that the project wasn’t going to look like Oxnard or whatever, because that is almost exactly what the project looked like.


So here is the problem. People don’t want development on hills. I’m good with that. They say let’s not expand beyond bounderies before infilling. Sounds great. So here is a project in the middle. No hills, no bounderies. So beyond your platitudes and Johnny one note about Oxnard, let’s come clean. Do you or don’t you want any development? And if not, then at what point do you suggest we cut off? Oh and last are you native to area or if not where did you come from and what gives you the right to dictate when we say no more??


Excellent point! Yeah, it was all about INFILL and ELEVATION (or lack thereof). What about THAT?



Here is the problem with the no growth-ers. They try and play it both ways. They say….OH NO we aren’t against development, you just have to do it right and compromise with us. So you do and BAM!!! You get hit over the head with their hypocrisy.


Crony Capitalism is killing this city. Enough is enough. It’s time to take back our town.


Too late!!!


So let’s design our fantasy use for this property. I would like to see a mega shopping center with:

* A WalMart Supercenter and Sam’s Club as the anchors.

* A Whole Foods Market to slap the crap out of that rip-off joint on LOVR.

* A Lowe’s.

* A Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop.

* An REI.

* A Nordstrom.

* A Dillard’s

* A central “entertainment hub” featuring about a dozen restaurants, two dozen bars, several cafes, a theater multi-plex and an actual performing arts center for the hoi polloi.

* A multi-story Marriott or Hilton hotel.

* A huge office complex with very reasonable rates.

* A giant Terrible Herbst gas station with prices always a penny/gallon lower than Costco.

Build that and I’m never spend another dollar ever in Downtown SLO or anywhere on LOVR.


Oxnard North. Perfect.


Stop whining — and return to where you came from!


Don’t you mean Bakersfield & Fresno west? Cabela’s or Bass Pro? one could only wish for a real sporting goods store in this county. As far as development and traffic woes, Caltran’s dosent do city streets and if you think the mess from Costco and the rest of the “big chain stores” already in place didn’t create traffic,smog,noise, bla,bla,bla then your blind. It was all about cronyism and this county reek’s of it. Much like Pismo proposed housing project and those who live around the proposed site. What do you think they said when they bought their homes 20 years ago, it was all good of course. Now its time to build again for others to come and its all about the NIMBY factor.

Kevin Rice

Don’t forget TWO Starbucks. Maybe a third inside the supermarket.


Noooo… We’ll leave Starbucks to the Copelands.

Maybe a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Winchell’s Donuts!


Or a maybe a Chock Full O’ Nuts to memorialize Marx.


Pithy and witty!


Thanks! ;)


You think Whole Paycheck is cheaper than New Frontiers. You might want to do some more research.


SLO passes itself off as the big, professional city in the county. Actually is by far the most corrupt and out of touch with its residents, and controlled by outside interests, aka Katie Lichtig.


Lichtig needs to be gone…


The math is simple…

The Dalidio’s tiny cost basis gave them plenty of room of compromise. They had the ability to set land aside for other than commercial uses.

Now that someone paid nearly $20M for it, they are going to have to utilize ever square inch the law allows.

Good job, Jan!


^^ THIS!! ^^ Exactly this!


The Copelands are very rich, weird, eccentric people who fly their jets over my house on the way to their San Francisco offices every morning. Any connection to SLO such as the Rossi’s is a stretch. They are weird, connected, and viscous. Dalidio had no choice but to sell.


In another county/state this would have ended with them and a couple of others in prison and Dalidio being awarded their holdings in downtown SLO.

In NYC or NJ, their shenanigans would have resulted in them getting clipped.


Personally, the whole deal stinks to high heaven to me.

So, I propose that the new buyers build and operate a hog confinement facility since this is right to farm county.


Ernie Dalidio and his wife, Kristi, are the kind of people who built this county. Local people who worked hard all their life and did many wonderful things to help others. Private property rights aside, these good people were robbed of their dream on land they owned. I wish them nothing but the best for the rest of their lives and I am ashamed of the way they were treated by others in this community.