Less water for AG residents, more for developers

October 16, 2016

AG City Council 6


The Arroyo Grande City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to enact further water restrictions on existing residents while delaying a building moratorium. The delay will allow a developer to avoid the moratorium and move ahead with the construction of more than 80 new homes.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, city staff estimated the city’s water supply could run out in 18 months if further water conservation measures were not implemented. Arroyo Grande residents have already reduced their water usage by 37 percent.

Council members agreed to further restrict resident’s water usage. Those restrictions include reducing outdoor watering from four to one day a week, enacting a rule against vehicle washing and increasing mandatory water reductions by another 10 percent.

However, city staff said that any water the city saves because of the reductions would likely be used by developer Andy Mangano’s proposed Cherry Avenue and Courtland and Grand developments unless the moratorium went into effect sooner. Combined, both developments total nearly 90 homes that could be delayed if a moratorium was enacted immediately.

During public comment, several residents said they should not be asked to cut back in order to support new development.

“Your residents have a huge problem,” Deborah Love said. “We are being asked to conserve so that new hotels and housing developments can be built.”

Mayor Jim Hill and Councilman Brown argued that the moratorium should go into effect immediately.

“Why are we waiting to hit the trigger when we are already in a dire situation?” Brown said. “Why wait for the moratorium?”

Council members Kristen Barneich, Barbara Harmon and Jim Guthrie voiced their concerns for developers who would have to delay their projects if the moratorium went into effect immediately.

In an attempt to increase water conservation requirements, Harmon wanted to take $5,500 from schools and give it to restaurant owners to retrofit dishwashers. Bob McFall, interim city manager, said those funds had already been spent.

Nearing midnight, Barneich, Guthrie and Harmon voted to delay the moratorium until there is 10,000 acre feet or less of water left in Lopez Lake, which is expected to occur in January. Both Hill and Brown dissented because they wanted the building moratorium to go into effect the day after their vote.


The City staff and the Council majority, that includes Harmon, Berneich and Guthrie wishes to take the risk by denying the moratorium. The citizens have lowered their usage by 35% on the drought issue while the Council majority appears to serve the ambition of developers,

The profound drought exposes the citizens to terrible consequences. But no one on the staff or the Council majority will be liable if they are wrong!!!. The risk is profound, and by continuing to deny the moratorium it makes fools of the citizens who in good faith have conserved.

Besides this, the developers can build and walk away where the citizens remain with the problem and risks while the puddle a Lopez Lake dries.

Penalizing development may conflict with the majority of the Council majority that serves their development masters. Is there any other reason why a moratorium isn’t sanctioned now by the Council majority?

The last confused review by the Council on October 14 was burdened by guesses and assumptions of the water matter. It did not address the political question as expressed here except by the limited public comment. That is a serious error in this political season. The citizens should address it on November 8 by reelecting Jim Hill and voting in Akins and Mack to the city Council. They will implement the moratorium immediately!


After the demand for conservation will come the demand for rate increases – to offset loss of income due to conservation. Then will be the salary increases to use up the surplus budget.


I was recently told the water rates have recently gone up 14%, in addition to other fee increases on our water bills.


AG doesn’t need luck, it needs residents who are engaged enough to know voting for Akins and Mack is voting FOR themselves. Keeping Barneich AND letting Ray return is voting FOR developers.

Retaining Mayor Hill is the best hope Arroyo Grande has at this point. That other guy Waller can jump on his mule and ride right on back to Truckee/Reno, where he’s been for the last 2+ decades.

Inform your neighbors, your friends, your kids’ friend’s parents, your coworkers.

Jim Hill

LeAnn Akins

John Mack

That’s the ticket!


Arroyo Grande city council member Tim Brown will be discussing this vote on Monday at 3:35. Tune in to News/Talk 920 AM radio to hear the conversation or catch it live on-line at 920kvec.com.


Like most political decisions in San Luis Obispo County just follow the money. You can start up north in Paso Robles and just move on down thru Atascadero, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande and Oceano all wrapped up into San Luis Obispo County. They all have issues.

So be foolish and vote yes on Measure J to keep giving them all more wasteful funds.



The water doesn’t belong to the AG City Council. It belongs to ALL of us. So, as a parent, I think about showering, laundry, water for our dogs. I think about how I have already let my grass die, how my family and many of my neighbors have installed/planted drought friendly landscaping. I think about military style showers, where you do all you can to conserve. Re-using dish water for plants.For what purpose? To allow visitors to come here and waste water? To ask City residents to cut back by ANOTHER 10 percent? What.the. $%@&!

Are our hotels locally booked to capacity these days? I don’t think so. We MIGHT have a few days during the year where this MIGHT happen, but honestly, SLO, MB,etc. are so close that if Pismo booked up, they would be better alternatives than a hotel in ARROYO GRANDE. That’s not really the destination hot spot, is it?

I get that new hotels COULD bring more tax revenue- but at what cost to the RESIDENTS who aren’t getting raises, asked to pay MORE taxes all over the place?

Lastly, is there somewhere to look up a market analysis on cost/benefit to adding ONE MORE HOTEL? There are three hotels within one mile of Walmart, not counting some of the more dinky hotels in AG center itself.


EXACTLY! You are so right. Thank you for taking the words right out of my mouth!


Robbing Peter to pay Paul is NOT sound fiscal management.If it’s likely the city will run out of water, then go ahead with the moratorium. If the community wants to be considered a “team”, then they need to start acting like one.



time for one if your great songs.


opps of



Similar to Pismo beach approving 170 room hotel and sending out a letter to citizens that week telling us how it is our duty to conserve water. Good luck AG.

Rich in MB

Do the simple Math….what brings in more Tax Revenue to the City.

A) Existing residents many have their property taxes protected by Prop 13


B) a new development with the permit fees and higher accesses Property Tax Value

Folks you know it is Option B….so move along…nothing to see here…the City needs more money and the current residents come in Second to the all mighty Tax Dollar to fund City Pay, Perks and Pensions.

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