York Mountain Road neighbors agree to reduced marijuana project

By KAREN VELIE

A dispute over a proposed marijuana cultivation on York Mountain Road in Templeton ended Tuesday after the project applicant agreed to significantly reduce the size of the proposed marijuana cultivation.

For the past six months, multiple York Mountain Road residents have voiced concerns about water usage, smell, crime, and traffic over the proposed combination indoor and outdoor marijuana farm on a 77-acre lot west of Templeton. The application was for two outdoor grows totaling three acres, and multiple indoor grows totaling 22,000 square feet.

As part of the settlement agreement, applicants Frank Ricigliano and Sue Sullivan agreed to abandon the proposed 3 acre outdoor grow for at least 20 years, grow only during the season, not allow nuisance odors or lighting to be detected off site, and to increase setbacks to 1,000 feet.

The applicant is permitted to start indoor cultivation with four greenhouses.

After one year, if there are no problems with odor or other issues related to the project, the applicants may increase the indoor greenhouse cultivation to 22,000 square feet.

In September, the county planning department approved 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 of the project.

At a contentious SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 26, supervisors listened to McPhee’s appeal of the proposed marijuana cultivation. While smell, traffic, a lack of an EIR, and water use were the neighbor’s greatest concerns, the most contentious issue became impacts to the view shed from Highway 46 West.

Consultant Jamie Jones of Kirk Consulting argued that the neighbors had manipulated photos to show the proposed site was in the view shed of Highway 46. Several supporters of the grower then argued the project area could not be seen from the highway.

Even though the project area is visible from Highway 46, supervisors Lynn Compton, Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson chastised the neighbors alleging the photos were manipulated in an attempt to deceive the board.

Compton then asked the neighbors to negotiate a compromise with the marijuana grower. Both sides then agreed to discuss the issue and come back to the board at a later time.

On Tuesday morning, the parties asked for more time to negotiate settlement terms, and at the end of the day, they informed the board of supervisors they had reached the compromise.

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