Los Osos directors want a planning commission

April 6, 2017

Jon-Erik Storm and Vicki Miledge


Several Los Osos Community Services District board members want the district to create and operate its own planning commission. At Thursdays 7 p.m. meeting, the board will hear a Government Services Committee report written by directors Jon-Erik Storm and Vicki Miledge on why the district should expand its powers.

In order to create a planning commission, the district would need the approval of the San Luis County Board of Supervisors and the Local Agency Formation Commission.

Since 1988, there has been a building moratorium in Los Osos. However, with the sewer online and several management plans in the pipeline, the floodgates for new development could be opened, according to the report.

In order for new development to occur, the county’s general plan amendment that include a sustainable water supply and habitat conservation plan still need to be approved by the California Coastal Commission and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services.

Storm and Miledge want the district board to be involved in the approval process for any future developments.

Generally, only cities and counties have their own planning departments and commissions. The SLO County Planning Commission currently reviews and approves proposed developments in Los Osos.

Another option would be for Los Osos to apply to become a city.

However, with the district’s historic bankruptcy, suspended bond rating and recent $500,000 deficit, it is unlikely Los Osos would prevail in a bid to become a city, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Los Osos  is struggling to sustain itself as a special district.

District officials are looking at raising water rates to its 2,700 customers by a total of $500,000 a year to meet current obligations.

The committee also wants to expand parks and recreation powers and to bring back its garbage franchise. The district sold its garbage franchise to the county as part of its bankruptcy settlement.

In the committee’s report, it looks to take funding for a planning commission from the 1 percent property tax the district receives. Those funds are currently allocated to the water department to offset expenses.

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Los Osos does n`t need a planning commission! What they need is to dissolve the CSD and admit that as a community they have been unable to govern themselves for decades.

Enough is enough. Stop the hemorrhaging.

Please don’t give us another bunch of people who don’t know what they are doing. We already have the CSD, the BOS and State Government three groups of idiots should suffice.

Regarding the water rate increse:

Just to be clear here, we only reccomended to bring the water rates in line with the rest of the county. As it stands now CSD provided water is some of the least expensive water in the county. When the previous plan was made the lower tier rates were set very low to encourage conservation. It was estimated that Los Osos CSD consumers might decrease water consumption by 10%. Budgets were made using this assumption. In actuality Los Osos cut water usage by 30%. Hence the shortfall in revenue.

So I have several thought on these facts:

1) I don’t think we should disparage people for not being able to predict the future. i.e. Know ahead of time peoples behavior regarding water conservation. The best that you can do is make the best guess with the information you have. As you have more information you can make course adjustments. Which is what we are doing.

2) I’m very proud of Los Osos for doing such an outstanding job conserving our one source of water. Most people I know are planning further conservation.

3) It’s much less expensive in the long run to preserve our ground water resource. We need to fund further studies on salt water intrusion. If we can’t use ground water retrofitting our sewer to recycle water, OR desalination would REALLY expensive.

4) I think our concern here in Los Osos is that the County could greenlight further development in Los Osos BEFORE we know we have a sustainable water source.


Thanks for your thoughtful points. The rate hike is not simply to come in line with the other communities — as much as it is to accomplish the projects necessary for Basin Plan implementation. The LOCSD agreed, in a court of law, that it would undertake certain projects and currently has no capital to do so. So “catch up” is being played for lost revenue, but also the quickest way to capital improvements comes at a cost.

Your point in #3 above is good, but the LOWWP already is a recycled water plant — one day, when it’s fully flowing, it will send water to farms and the schools to water turf, this way the drinking water will no longer be used for those purposes.

Desalination would come as an entirely separate project, as was identified as a possibility early on, for that seawater that’s under the community. Its very low salt content, by comparison to open ocean, would be much less cost to purify. We all hope we don’t have to go there — disposal of the brine waste is an expensive challenge. There are limited places it can go.

Your point #4 is also good, but the County doesn’t get to say when development will take place, that decision will be made by the Coastal Commission. From what I’ve seen they are pretty adamant about seeing water quality improve (seawater stopped or reversed) before new growth will take place. In the meantime, only development that can offset its water use on a 2:1 ratio is allowed to take place. But, that’s only after they get USFWS approvals to overcome their snail issues. That’s why our community-wide average new homes built per year over the last 10 years have been three (3). Just three homes per year.

A building boom is not in the near future. When it comes growth will be limited to about 4,000 more people total. It will come slowly, and probably restricted to about 25 homes a year.

IMO, the LOCSD needs to survive its current troubles before it embarks on some grandiose scheme to be a Planning Commission. An example is it just got its BBB- bond rating back after 9 months of suspension. It’s been deficit spending for years. All this has to stop and a solid financial future has to be clear before a single dime is spent on this. Again, my opinion. Let’s get the numbers on the table and let the citizens decide.

“Thanks for your thoughtful points. ” You act like you are already nominated. go away.

Nominated to what? I oppose the whole idea.

For the sake of argument lets say the sewer completely solves the Nitrate problem in the ground water, we still have the problem of the level of groundwater being so low that salt water is intruding into the drinking supply. 12 inches of rain does not add 12 inches to the water table. What do the developers think they will use for water?

Building houses in Los Osos does not require water; it does require that developers manipulate various government agencies to get the permits. Based on the fact the BOS is now having Los Osos residents pay for North County water misuse, permission to build is not that far off. Hey SLO County Board of Supervisors, why don’t you lower my Los Osos sewer bill by sharing the costs with the entire county? Corruption at its very best.

The bulk of the money for water use is for Los Osos and Nipomo. The big winery owners like Stewart Resnick are in bed with Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson not to help those in the fringe areas. The 40 poor property owners in Los Osos would have lost their homes, but the rich like Resnick could buy those properties on the cheap.

The SLO Progressives and Hill claim the money is going to rich north county farmers when all one has to do is read the staff report to know the truth. The 40 homes in Los Osos and the 1,500 homes in Nipomo are mostly poor peoples homes.

Are people so ignorant that they follow like sheep and refuse to research?

CrisPow, in answer to your question…”YES”!

So, I guess it is OK for other communities in this County to pay for the management and oversite of the Los Osos sewer project and you had no problem with that at a cost to . I bet you didn’t complain when Hill and Gibson spend about $1 Million plus of the County money to trick the voters in North County about a private water district for the benefit of Big Business, aka wineries. I am sure you haven’t complained when Gibson and Hill made sure their districts got the lion’s share of the park funding for their districts when their district’s contributed the least.

We are all in this together, we help each other out. If we are going to split nuts on who is paying for way, he gets more, who deserves it more than we are not a community. Sometimes you community gets more for your needed issues, sometimes it is the South or North County. Bottom line, we are all in the County!

Why the hell should I, or anybody else pay your sewer bill? Los Osos was offered a nearly free sewer system in the 70’s. They declined and obstructed specifically to extend the building moratorium and deny the rights of property owners. I take great delight in high Los Osos sewer bills.

They heard about the $2000 and thought of a way to get in on the action.

Just back from the LOCSD meeting.

After a PowerPoint presentation and some legal jargon, President Storm assured the community CSD’s can not have “Planning Commission authority” (as we know it) and that this would be the LOCSD sitting as another board (similar to the Board of Supervisors sitting as the Board of the Flood Control District) — same people wearing different hats. The Planning functions would stay with the County, just recommendations on projects would go through the LOCSD too (it was unclear to me if that meant terminating the Los Osos Community Advisory Council). He reiterated the costs would be minimal (the report — can be found in the March (not the April) agenda packet on their website — says costs incur would only for “longer meetings”).

The board voted unanimously to develop a plan that will be heard again in 6 months and perhaps then (depending on the plan) make application to LAFCO to begin the process of becoming this second body.

Note: Supervisor Gibson was there to assure them he wants to work with them and other community groups.

Are there any professional town planners in Los Osos who think they are qualified for this position?


Here is a perfect example of conceiving a bureaucracy that will serve no purpose, and cost the taxpayers untold dollars.

But they said “minimal costs.” Don’t you believe them? There is no such thing as a minimal cost in government unless you think the $2000 bonus to the best that SLO has to offer is minimal.