Planning commission rejects Laetitia Winery development

February 12, 2016


Months after indicating it would approve the project, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission voted Thursday to reject a proposed housing development at the Laetitia Vineyard and Winery in rural Arroyo Grande. Planning commissioners denied the project on a 3-1 vote after two state agencies raised last-minute concerns about road access to the development site.

Laetitia winery is located on a 1,910-acre property between Arroyo Grande and Nipomo. The vineyard is zoned for an agricultural cluster, meaning residential development can occur there, as long as the homes are clustered together and have minimal impact on surrounding farmland.

Initially, county staff recommended the planning commission deny Selim Zilkha’s proposal to construct 101 homes grouped in eight clusters because of view shed issues, residential density and traffic congestion. Neighbors also voiced concerns about water use.

At the request of the commission, the applicant made several changes, including scaling down the project from 101 to 82 homes. The commissioners then voted unanimously to direct staff to provide findings supporting the approval of the project.

When the planning commission reconvened on Thursday, Cal Fire and Caltrans raised objections to the planned secondary access road.

State code requires there be an alternative route to access a development in the case of an emergency. Previously, project planners had reached an agreement with Cal Fire that emergency responders could drive through the winery to reach the homes.

Cal Fire reversed its position on Thursday. The agency claimed secondary routes must also be available for daily use.

Project planners had proposed blocking off the winery route to daily traffic in order to satisfy concerns raised by Caltrans officials. Caltrans objected to the possibility of added traffic at the Highway 101 intersection in front of the winery.

After Cal Fire and Caltrans did not reach a compromise with the developer, the planning commission again reversed its position. Commissioner Jim Harrison cast the lone vote in favor of the project, and Commissioner Eric Meyer abstained from voting.

The planning commission ruling will likely be appealed to the board of supervisors.



  1. surferdude says:

    Maybe Cal Trans should tell us what is the plan for the next 20 years and if there is something at Leticia to be built, build the houses then. But not until they provide a road and then close off El Campo.

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. Jorge Estrada says:

    My opinion is that there are already enough Caltrans issues at other locations within SLO County. To add another one to the pile would be irresponsible knowing the decades it will take to get most unmet needs resolved. The south county rollercoaster highway is dangerous enough, even with Caltrans unilaterally closing off private driveways. Yes, they just put up barricades instead of a deceleration lane and then toss around words like non-conforming etc. Then there is the stretch of FREEWAY that pedestrians need to use between Atascadero and Templeton, another let the County fix it cuz we aint got the money sez Caltrans. And last but NOT least is the stretch of Highway 101 between San Luis Obispo and Santa Margarita. It’s a FREEWAY but where the safety issues exist, like pedestrian and road encroachments, Caltrans calls it an EXPRESSWAY, like that is a magic fix-all. Yes there are already big problems and new taxes are being proposed to be the local fix-all but layers of gas taxes have already been redirected instead of for what the voters approved. Why would anything new be approved if there is no fix, after citing a few of the standing examples? Caltrans can’t afford to provide reasonable mitigation for their charter but they have afforded excellent pay and pensions. Laetitia will likely have to wait until the travel club gets paid and the retirement plan is fully funded. It is really that simple knowing there is only one pocket that the money comes from, YOURS.

    (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
  3. horse_soldier says:


    (15) 19 Total Votes - 17 up - 2 down
  4. doglover says:

    Let them pay for an overpass if they want one more damn house!
    Have you witnessed a crash at El Campo?
    It’s not pretty.

    Thank you PC, the BOS better follow their lead.

    (27) 33 Total Votes - 30 up - 3 down
  5. what the says:

    It goes something like this:
    Psssst, Adam… take this $250 and when this thing comes in front of the board, you know what to do. Thanks buddy!

    (11) 35 Total Votes - 23 up - 12 down
    • kayaknut says:

      Come on everyone knows Adam does sell out for that little you would have to at least x10 that amount. It takes a $$$$’s to live at the country club.

      (-2) 6 Total Votes - 2 up - 4 down
  6. 3 putt says:

    Finally, some sanity on this horrific proposal. It is wrong on so many levels: water, road access, wastewater and more.

    Unfortunately, Compton and Arnold will vote to approve it. It boggles the mind.

    (26) 40 Total Votes - 33 up - 7 down
  7. SLO_Johnny says:

    All of this process in the Planning Commission is basically wasted because the Count Board was always going to make the decision.

    (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
  8. hijinks says:

    Why did Eric Meyer abstain from voting? Does Mr. Bazillionaire own property nearby?

    (11) 17 Total Votes - 14 up - 3 down

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