SLO County orders Justin Vineyards to stop removing oak trees

June 10, 2016

13406788_10157074093725790_1505235881001809877_nIn preparation for planting grapes, workers removed hundreds of oak trees from a rural Paso Robles property managed by Justin Vineyards. After receiving numerous complaints from neighbors, county officials issued a stop-work order. [Tribune]

The property, located at 750 Sleepy Farm Road, is owned by Estate Vineyards, which also owns Justin Vineyards.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Frank Mecham said, in recent days, neighbors have complained about the removal of oak trees, earth moving and the construction of a large water storage pond.

On Thursday morning, Mecham met with about 12 of the neighbors Thursday morning. Mecham said he told the neighbors, as well as owners of nearby vineyard, to petition the board of supervisors to adopt an ordinance that would ban the removal of stands of old-growth oak trees.

Neighbors say that oak trees make Paso Robles beautiful and removing them destroys the landscape. Likewise, neighbors are concerned that the Justin Vineyard-managed project may cause their wells to go dry.

Farmer Neil Heaton said he is concerned his well will go dry as a result of the pumping required to fill a 20-acre-foot storage pond. Heaton dry-farms 20 acres of wine grapes and 20 acres of walnuts on an adjacent 85-acre property.

Art Trinidade, the county’s building department supervisor, said removing oaks on agricultural land is not prohibited. But, grading that occurred on the property in question may constitute a code violation. The grading took place on steep slopes, creating the possibility of erosion and creek sedimentation, Trinidade said.

Code enforcement officials inspected the property Thursday morning and issued the stop-work order Thursday afternoon. The county planning department will determine next week whether code violations occurred.



Save Paso Basin.


carpet baggers


Justin Schmustin must be schmoozin’ with County Code Enforcement. From personal experience, County Code Enforcement has proven useless. Several years I implored them to check on a foul odor coming from a local laundromat. The Code Enforcement officer asked me if I could SEE anything leaking. My reply was “No.” Her comeback – “Then there’s not a problem.” WHAT???


Correction: “Several years AGO I implored them…”


Bless Mechum.

Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson argued to allow the State to control Paso Basin matters, which, due to latency, would likely grant ample time for the operation to complete and go forward.

The Paso Basin is severely stressed, being drawn down to half it’s capacity on a monthly basis over the past two years, according to a geologist’s report at February’s Templeton CSD meeting.

It looks as though metering each and every well head will be essential to effectively govern and maintain the sustainability of North County’s future groundwater supply.

If we allow billionaire Stewart Resnick to mirror his Figi water operations using the Paso Basin water via his Estates LLC, then there is a high probability that Paso Basin water may soon be bottled and sold, at the expense of shallow wells running dry at smaller rural properties, which in turn will compell them to sell their properties and move.

Furthermore, could future water sales from such a water distributor be on order to cities such as San Luis Obispo, which depends entirely on reservoirs, has no well and claims that it has plenty? Be wary.


It’s always easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission. If they have violated any grading ordinance, they will get a slap on the wrist, maybe some fines, maybe some mitigation. But that won’t sting enough to make a difference when there is as much money behind them as they have. What WILL make a difference is if there is a lot of press on this, keep it in front of people and on the front page. That will sting, and will hurt their label which is the only way to make an impression on people who have enough money to do whatever they want, wherever they want, without regard to anyone or anything except the bottom line.


RESNIK, remember the name as this billionaire thinks he can come into our County with his dirty money and high paid lawyers and do whatever he wants.

He is like the Clinton’s, do the crime and then pay the fine. They get their dirty work done faster and their way without going through the legal process like the rest of the American citizens.

He lost, big time, in the proposed stealing of the Paso water basin, but wait, he is working on the Shandon – San Juan basin in the Shandon area right there where the 10″ State Water line just recently installed the side line… They are not giving up until the deplete the resources in this County like he did in Fiji. Do your reading, this man and his corruption only wants power and money and he does not care at all about this County.


f these guys….we have plenty of whine already


more; “what have they done to my fair sister”?


The Resniks are creepy greedy Beverly Hills billionaires. It’s time for a boycott of their products which include Pom Wonderful pomegranate products, Halos mandarins, Fiji Water.


Looks more like clear cutting to me. The rules don’t seem to apply to the Resnick’s.


Black Copter Pilot

Why didn’t the name, Resnick, appear in the article?


When you are that rich you can hide behind LLC’s, and corps, plus that much money buys enough influence and politicians to do what you want, regardless of what’s legal or right

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