SLO County’s unequal enforcement leaves farmer fighting corporation

April 7, 2024


Unequal enforcement is alive and well in San Luis Obispo county, especially now with the ongoing influx of corporations and big money into the Paso Robles and Templeton areas.

My family has a small farm and farm stand on Vineyard Drive, and we are hosts for RV travelers with the Harvest Host program. We do not pay to be a host nor are we paid by our guests. There is no water or power or hookups of any kind. The RVs are self-contained. No section of any county ordinance was violated.

And yet county code enforcement found my family guilty of running a commercial RV park without proper permits. I was tried and fined. I never received a visit from code enforcement or a letter informing me that they suspected a violation.

I was never given a chance to cure and correct. No due process. I simply received a copy of a violation notice in the mail. It cost us thousands of dollars. In the end, we were able to resume our activities.

On the other hand, our new corporate neighbor, Anthony Riboli of Riboli Family Wines and San Antonio Winery in Los Angeles, purchased Jada Winery across the street and is allowed to run a wind machine for frost protection on a new section of vines, with no repercussions. The noise and wind from this machine rattles our windows and makes it impossible to sleep.

Despite the manufacturer’s specifications showing a 1,000 foot setback, Mr. Riboli has placed the fan about 130 feet from our barn, 300 feet from our house, and right across from our Harvest Host RV guest parking spaces.

Even though under the county Right to Farm Ordinance,  this wind machine is a nuisance and not allowed as it violates California Civil Code Section 3479 (“Anything which is injurious to health, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property….is a nuisance.”), it appears Mr. Riboli feels it is his right to run the wind machine because “wind machines used for direct climate control” are exempt under the county noise ordinance.

The county has failed to follow through on their 2022 request for standards and practices for wind machines, even though, under board direction, staff formed a committee with the agriculture department, the Agricultural Liaison Advisory Board, and other entities and drafted the document.

So now, a giant corporation is dictating the quality of surrounding neighbors’ lives, as the wind machine droned on Friday night from 10:18 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. and Saturday night from 2:30 a.m. until again about 7:30 a.m.

While I had the book thrown at me for allowing travelers to spend a night at our farm, Mr. Riboli is able to disrupt the lives of neighbors with no consequence.

If San Luis Obispo truly cannot find some ordinance that Jada Winery is violating, then shame on Anthony Riboli and the Riboli family.

Claire Mamakos and her family have lived on their farm for almost40 years, growing fruits, flowers, nuts and vegetables.


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My guess is that the enforcement agency referred this to be a civil matter.

Riboli made the county ag officials “an offer they couldn’t refuse.”

Frost protection devices are exempt from the noise ordinance as long as they are used appropriately and like other property owners in the area with such devices are commonly using them.

A campground requires a permit. Any use of an RV for habitation outside of a permitted campground is not legal.

If you don’t like the laws, get your elected representatives (legislators) to change the laws, don’t complain about it and claim victimhood.

BTW, you are arguing apples and oranges here. And I hate the fact that not only is your argument flawed, you are attempting at shaming where no shame is due. That’s typically done when you haven’t a leg to stand on.

I’d want to see the complaint against the campers. There are health and safety issues when there is no running water, bathrooms, etc. Look at Dan Duvall’s issues. I see “self contained” campers at the Smart and Final shopping center on Creston Rd and believe me, they are homeless people that have been there for months. I’m guessing the Guest Campers under the Harvest Program requires that to be a permitted use on the property and I am also guessing that Riboli obtained permits before building the windmill.

So basically one neighbor broke the law and got fined for it while the other neighbor is within the rights of the law. You can have your guests but he can’t farm his land? I understand it blows but I’d suspect farming has long existed in the area prior to any Harvest Hosting. Maybe smudge pots should be brought back to reduce the wind and noise. If the wine tasters complained of reefer odors would you pull up your crop? No, and you shouldn’t have to either. The fan will be gone in a couple weeks once frost season has passed, let’s all chill out.

If he is not charging travelers to stay, nor providing any amenities other than a level bit of ground, how is this in any manner a commercial venture? Are you required to collect the Transient Occupancy Tax when you allow guests to stay over, as long as they bring the wine? No? Then what makes you think the Mamokos’ have violated ANY law?

As for the wind machines…yes, they are a nuisance to health. Did you notice the blowers are NOT blowing over the crops, but directly towards the house?

Right now, is Harley-Davidson’s with loud pipes riding season. I’m sure you won’t mind us reefer smokers riding in circles around your neighborhood from 8:00 in the evening to 6:30 in the morning, right? It’ll only be for a few weeks in the riding season, so chill out!

First off, it’s a she, not a he, that is providing the level ground. Claire is a woman’s name and she is the author of this article. I see no problem with her allowing campers to stay on her property. I’m all for property rights! However by her own admission, she went through a trial and was found guilty by the county. A lot of things need to be fixed on the county level around here, but it’s not going to improve by bashing our neighbors. She can have hers but he can’t have his? There is another neighbor in the area who acts the same way, it’s laughable.

A nuisance to Health? That must be another California term like atmospheric river. What do the people across the world do when it gets windy? People in windy areas must be very unhealthy. The wind machine rotates and blows cold air out of the valleys. That section is very low hence the fan. It’s only there for a short period of time. There was once a time that the country supported our farmers but the naïve public continues to try to close them down. This area has been farming long before Claire’s family came around.

The wind machine rotates. It’s not constantly blowing on her house as she showed in the video. I drove by this morning and it was pointed towards the winery. It’s easy to make it look like someone is doing something wrong when only given part of the story. I also noticed an RV parked there this morning…..should I make a video and write a no-nonsense article.

If you want to smoke your reefer and ride your Harley that’s all fine by me. Loud pipes save lives! Just don’t turn yourself into a meat crayon when riding stoned.

It’s honestly sad to see so many people complain about the farming industry yet they do it with a glass of wine in their hand, while eating at all the nice restaurants in town. Don’t forget to show your friends around too! Oh, and be sure to not take the profit on your home sale or sell out to a vineyard owner. We are now the land of Democrats and Hypocrites. Your grandparents are ashamed, they were farmers too. I came from a town about an hour and a half away, 22 years ago. There’s absolutely no industry besides meth and thievery. Pick your poison.

Typo. Sue me.

They were cited and fined, without due process. There was no “trial”, as that would require lawyers, juries, and plenty of time to prepare your case. SHE was found guilty BEFORE she appeared before a judge and fined thousands of dollars…for an “crime” that was not clarified prior, nor warned about, nor, apparently, allowed time to consult with counsel.

That would be akin, to YOU being cited and found guilty, of operating a motorcycle race track in front of your house, as me and the boys party on.

As for the fans, while pointed toward the crops, they blow to the rear, like an airplane, not a house fan. You can clearly see this in the video.

I’ve less than zero animosity towards farmers, as we were ranchers in this county for many decades. But, I do have a problem with farming corporations that refuse to act “neighborly”. If the fan is malfunctioning, I can forgive until repaired. According to the Makakos’, this is not the situation, as that fan is deliberately blowing into their property and home. Also, this be a rotating fan, it can be, and should be, locked into a pattern that blows only on the crop, and not continually rotate 360deg. Since it is portable, it can also be hauled to the far side of this field. The wind does not have to directly blow across the vines, only disrupt the air mass, which it can easily do far from the house, barn, and guests.

You want everyone to apologize to Riboli for being pestered about farming. No. We want the Riboli to acknowledge their lack of being neighborly.