County board to hear Templeton cannabis cultivation dispute

By KAREN VELIE

A dispute over a proposed marijuana cultivation on York Mountain Road in Templeton is headed to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

In September, the county planning department approved a permit for a combination indoor and outdoor marijuana farm on a 77-acre lot west of Templeton. At that time, the application was for permits for two outdoor grows totaling three acres and multiple indoor grows totaling 22,000 square feet.

Shortly afterwards, neighbor Ian McPhee filed an appeal based on multiple concerns about water, smell, crime, traffic and possible contamination of a creek if the proposed cultivation was permitted to go though.

Neighbors have also voiced concerns about property values. Adjacent to the proposed grow, a 66 acre property was in escrow last year, but after discovering a pot farm was planned for next door, the buyer backed out, the proposed buyer said.

Because of a contingency not related to cannabis, the proposed buyer was able to cancel the escrow.

On Feb. 21, the Templeton Area Advisory Group voted unanimously, with one abstention, to recommend the county deny approval of the project because there is no plan to address neighborhood compatibility issues, a lack of adequate odor mitigation, changes to the view shed and the project’s impact on property values.

On behalf of her clients, Frank Riciliano, Jim McAllister and Laura Gardner, Jamie Jones of Kirk Consulting sent out a request to have people send in letters of support.

“As a North County/SLO County resident in support of the industry and farming/property rights in general, we are asking you and any other supporters you may know for a letter of support for this project as it will likely set the stage for every cannabis project moving forward that happens to be heard by the SLO County Board of Supervisors,” Jones writes in her email.

The form letter has several inaccuracies including referring to the cannabis cultivation as an agricultural crop when by regulations it is a special use.

“I want to express my support for the proposed Medical Cannabis Farm located on York Mountain Road, Jones’ form letter says. “The York Mountain property is a 77-acre property zoned for agricultural uses. The project is an agricultural project and will grow a legal agricultural product. Please do not be swayed by a small vocal, distant minority who are intent on eliminating local agriculture and private property rights.”

Currently, there are three letters in support of the proposed cannabis cultivation and more than 80 letters in opposition listed on the county website.

San Luis Obispo County staff is recommending the supervisors reject the appeal, and vote to approve the project.

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