Oops, San Simeon built a water facility on Hearst Ranch property

October 6, 2020

From the Wallace Group study: The green portion of the facility sits on the Hearst Ranch property.


It was the dream of fresh water that bedazzled San Simeon Community Services District officials: water that did not taste bad during dry spells because of high chloride levels. Build a reverse osmosis unit and have drinkable water 12 months out of the year.

But the contractors of the building to house the reverse osmosis unit hit a snag. In Nov. 2015, Madonna Construction discovered obstacles to installing the building pad as planned near the CSD office, adjacent to the Hearst Ranch, according to minutes of a district board meeting.

The district then decided to move the building site five feet to the east, even though two community members warned district staff their plans would place part of the building on the Hearst Ranch, according to CSD records. They had already secured $865,000 in government grants to fund the project, with assurances they were building the facility on their own property.

Five years later, the owners of Hearst Ranch hired a licensed surveyor to verify the water facility did not encroach on their land. However, it does. The Wallace Group determined 560 square feet of the CSD’s reverse osmosis facility is on the Hearst Ranch Conservation Easement, according to an Aug. 18 surveyor’s summary.

In 2005, two nonprofits and the state of California entered into a $92 million agreement with the Hearst family which permits the Hearst Corporation to graze cattle on the 82,000 acre ranch, but they are prohibited from developing the property. However, they can approve easements for infrastructure for utilities.

The CSD is currently negotiating with the Hearst Corporation regarding a proposed easement to place a community water tank on the ranch, and could possibly work out an agreement regarding the reverse osmosis facility.

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Now there’s a Homer moment. DOH!

Name the reverse osmosis water treatment facility after Steve Hearst. “The Steve Hearst Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Facility”” I know it doesn’t roll off the tongue like “Hearst Equestrian Center” but if you want poetry you have to pay for it. Naming the treatment plant after Steve doesn’t cost anybody anything and creates a great little story for future generations.

“Hey grandpa, how come your name is on that building over there?”

“Well, grandson, let me start off by telling you about the importance of being able to read a map.”

I’m sure the CSD can come to a agreement with the Hearst Ranch if the money paid to them is high enough or some other compensation meets Hearts agenda.

If I remember right, George Hearst only paid 25 cents a acre for that land, hopefully Hearst Corporation gives the district a smoking deal on this little itty bitty piece of real estate:)

Of course Hearst Corporation are not the nice guy’s their PR would have you believe! There’s quite a few small land owners spread within Hearst Ranch, they’ve been squashing them like bugs on a windshield every chance they get, using there political and legal might to force the small landowners to sell to them, threatening loss of access and other nefarious dealings!!!

One wonders if these brainless, costly-managered, CSD’s will ever avoid their serial catastrophes?

Buildings encroaching the land of others, plants that rust instead of making drinking water, sewer projects wildly over priced (Los Osos, Morro Bay Ok that last one is a city).

Gigantic landslides, worker ripped into by a boring machine, plants located MILES from the common sense and tried and true downslope confluence (Los Osos, Morro Bay). Lord help us.