Cannabis grows destroy Los Osos Valley Road viewshed

September 20, 2019

OPINION by JULIE TACKER

Over 10,000 commuters travel Los Osos Valley Road every day. As one who travels that road on a daily basis, to and from my home in Los Osos, I appreciate the beauty of the valley’s patchwork of colors as displayed season by season. I am in awe of its sunlight and shadows and its rich colorful soils, crops and fallows.

For years there has been speculation that, someday, the valley will have houses all the way from San Luis Obispo to Los Osos. However, with years of dedication by various entities and valley farmers to preserve farming in perpetuity, it is highly unlikely houses will mar this beautiful countryside.

But, today, with the onslaught of marijuana and hemp farms lining up to develop in the valley, numerous plastic greenhouses and hoop houses covering acres and acres of the valley are proposed – with some already installed.

The valley’s beauty is at risk of significant blight from these operations.

Recently some have begun the permitting process; others have been built with no regard for our land use laws. As the permits proceed through the county planning department and go before the decision makers, only then the public will have a say in how the projects are ultimately approved.

These plastic structures are scarring the picturesque scenery of the Irish Hills and the majestic Morros.

One particularly shocking hoop house project is built high atop a rocky hill near Chumash Peak. When sunlight hits its sea of plastic the glare illuminates the whole hillside – distracting from this majestic Morro; souring the scenic drive.

Others are proposed just 300 feet from the roadway, proposed mitigation of ugly fencing and screening walls of vegetation. While some “farmers” grow outdoors with miles of white plastic laid on the ground right up to the roadway.

The windscreens and quasi security fencing is visual clutter that the public has had no avenue to speak to.

As these marijuana and hemp cultivation projects make their way through the permitting process, I encourage my fellow commuters to become informed and raise their concerns about the impacts to this scenic valley.

My personal concerns are specific to these projects visual impacts. Your concerns may relate to water use, odors and security.

I look forward to my morning drive to work through the valley, as it inspires a good day and my evening drive home helps to wind down at days end. There’s a sense of respite that takes place when one travels the beautiful Los Osos Valley Road, one that should be preserved for all commuters to enjoy into the future.

Pay close attention to the county’s permitting process, become an “interested party” and comment on the projects impacts by emailing Karen Nall at knall@co.slo.ca.us.


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cecile

I look forward to being at home and not having a construction yard put into the vacant lot next to us. I find it puzzling that people are upset about a brown fence on a drive home but are complacent about a construction yard going into our neighborhood in Los Osos! Seems a little two faced.


fat chance

I drove by there yesterday. That canvas looked like crap. Hard to believe they are going to let them keep it up. I don’t care what they grow but dump the canvas…..


mercut1469

I love the Central Coast and have been driving its backroads for at least 60 years. I love the natural lay of the land—towering oaks, scrub, wildflowers. But for 40 years I was also a farmer working for a small outfit. It is essential that we keep land open for farmers, of any ilk, to grow their crop as long as there is a market for it. America has always been this way. I’m sorry that your drive is interrupted by some fences and greenhouses, but just remember that these fences and greenhouses help provide a living for small farmers and their workers.


sbjcl

The land is zoned agricultural land use. Growing agricultural crops is allowed in that zone, if that is a problem then go get the land rezoned or better yet keep your eyes on the road and stay in your lane.


Rambunctious

View shed?…I thought we abandoned view sheds in favor of those bird killing windmills and solar farms…


themommer

Fully agree, Julie. If crops were simply crops (as a previous comment states) then the Tuscany region of Italy and the Bordeaux region of France would put marijuana hoop houses right next to their beautiful vineyards. Instead, they have chosen to preserve their centuries-old wine industry. Right or wrong, vines conjure up the image of history, tradition, and romance — the antithesis of a hoop house.


MrYan

You are so right, but historically speaking the central coast was known for Alfalfa and sugar peas. Not wine.


We don’t have a centuries old wine industry on the central coast. This is a recent phenomenon. A few short years ago our hillsides were covered with; golden grasses, green alfalfa fields, and blooming almond and walnut trees. Historical crops.


Some could argue this is the historical landscape that should have been protected from over saturation of Wineries.


The Winery / Cannabis industry is like the old Cattle / Sheep wars.


I’ll take the chicken please.


corvidae

Oh, look—another opinion piece.


MrYan

Do we drive the same patch of road?


Los Osos valley has been cluttered with farming equipment, wind screens, temporary greenhouses, and constant farm ag debris for years. Unhealthy, non-native, and ugly trees for wind breaks litter the entire drive.


This was there well before you moved there, and most certainly before Hemp farmers arrived too. Yes, when the marigolds bloom they are pretty. But that is fleeting. It is not that inspiring of a drive, and never really has been.


Farmers could grow strawberries in that corridor, which would have nothing but plastic as far as the eye can see. Or place greenhouses everywhere like Nipomo does for flower cultivation.


Or they could go the Alex Madonna route as he did with the Costco development, and point out to the County that Pig Farms are be appropriately zoned in this corridor and he would be putting one in if they denied his development plans. The smell of Cannabis would be welcomed by you on your drive home if that was the case.


While you see farms as beautiful, the farmer sees them as…. farms; to be worked. Your viewing pleasure is not their concern, nor should it be.


Are they compliant within the law? Yes? Turn up the tunes and keep driving then. You can decompress on your own property when you get there.


mkaney

Julie – Crops are crops. People need to get over their hangups over this one. It’s just a plant. And here’s the reality…it’s becoming more and more difficult for small farmers to stay in business. And as property values in the area continue to increase, the incentive for people to sell the land along LOVR increases. That WILL result in more housing. So while you may not find marijuana or commercial hemp crops ideal, be careful what you ask for, because you may wind up making it more likely that you get what you REALLY don’t want, tract housing.