Proposed oak tree ordinance moving forward

June 22, 2016
Deforestation by Justin Vineyards

Deforestation by Justin Vineyards

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisor agreed Tuesday to place the discussion of an oak tree ordinance and new rules for reservoirs on an upcoming agenda.

Two decades ago, local farmers argued against implementing an oak tree ordinance because they thought it would be onerous and expensive. However, after Justin Vineyards, a company owned by Stewart and Lynda Resnick, cut thousands of oak trees with plans to create a 20-acre-foot agricultural reservoir that would drain millions of gallons of water out of the ground during a time of drought, farmers have joined environmentalist in seeking legal restrictions.

In the past, Supervisors Bruce Gibson, Adam Hill and Frank Mecham supported Resnick’s plans to promote a proposed Paso Robles basin water district that was rejected earlier this year by 77 percent of voters. However, following the Resnick’s third clear-cutting and reservoir installation since 2013, the supervisors unanimously agreed to consider an oak tree ordinance.

On July 15, the board of supervisors will consider an emergency ordinance, which would be in place for at least 45 days, while they work on a more permanent solution.




  1. MrYan says:

    Don’t lose the forest through the trees people!!! Yes we should protect our Oaks and the landscape that we all enjoy, but we should be more concerned about why he removed the trees in the first place.

    The billionaire’s plan is to corner the water market. They along with other large land owners are building ponds and pumping, not to support their local agriculture projects, but to store the water and sell down the road.

    We should be discussing an ordinance that prevents large land owners from pumping more water out of the ground than their operations can justify. Storage capacity should not exceed the need of the farm. I would bet that this pond is a wee bit large for what they truly need.

    The water district will help create the “water highway” that these guys need to move “our” water, that they’ve excessively pumped into ponds, to neighboring districts in *distress*.

    If we prevent the ponds, we remove their ability to store the water to sell as a commodity. That is the ultimate goal–profit from the water–not the almonds-grapes-etc.

    We won’t have any Oaks to protect if they suck all the water out beneath them…they’ll just be dead Oaks in the long run. Pick the right Ordinance to get behind I say.

    (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
  2. Pelican1 says:

    An ordinance is nothing more than a band-aid. We need to enforce the current environmental laws, making sure that those who ultimately issue the permits have a full understanding of a proposed project as well as the applicable laws governing the issuance of any and all permits.
    In addition, follow up reviews during the term of the project should be in place.

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  3. Kaiser Bill says:

    Lets dig deep and find out if Adam Hill has the same Wonderful beliefs as the Resnicks who clearcutted those Oaks in Paso.

    (7) 15 Total Votes - 11 up - 4 down
  4. obispan says:

    We got 3 weeks boys. Get those engines tuned up, bars replaced, and get extra chains so we don’t need to stop to sharpen ’em. Plenty of time for that after the ordinance is enacted.

    (-5) 17 Total Votes - 6 up - 11 down
  5. SLOBIRD says:

    “On July 15, the board of supervisors will consider an emergency ordinance…” Why did they not pass this yesterday while in discussion effective July 1, 2016. They certainly did it with the planting (which no one paid attention to) and the water wells. Absolutely ridiculous!

    (22) 30 Total Votes - 26 up - 4 down
    • smile4thecamera says:

      Talk about a board sitting on their thumbs. Jeez. An ordinance should have been put into effect a long time ago.

      (26) 32 Total Votes - 29 up - 3 down
  6. smile4thecamera says:

    What happened on the Resnick’s property looks like clear cutting to me. The oak trees are something that stands out in our little county. Their majestic beauty against the blue sky is truly breathtaking. I think it’s really pathetic for some billionaire to come in and ruin land in our county. Resnick threw in money towards the campaign on the water basin district which was ALSO supported by Gibson, Hill and Mecham. Will these 3 supervisors *really consider an ordinance, or will they kiss Resnick’s butt which I suspect they might…

    (36) 50 Total Votes - 43 up - 7 down
    • obispan says:

      Not to belabor the point, but what about property rights? Ag is ag. Resnick’s not building a subdivision. Why should we pass an ordinance that impedes allowed use established 40 years ago? And why now pay attention to Resnick alone while the Harvard University Endowment (no dummies I’d guess) buys up land and sinks wells to do the same thing?

      (0) 16 Total Votes - 8 up - 8 down
      • smile4thecamera says:

        Well, had there been an ordinance on the books a long time ago, Resnick would have purchased the property knowing that he could not cut down those majestic trees. The trees and ag can live together. It’s done all the time. I get what you mean about property rights, I do. The county needs to quit dragging their feet and adopt something to protect what oaks are left. I stumbled on this the other day when news of this clear cutting first hit the news…mostly it’s about the economic value of oak trees, but points out some other interesting facts:

        (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down

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