Applicants withdraw their green waste composting facility proposal from county planning



In a March 25 email sent to San Luis Obispo County and New Times, Joe Boud, a consultant for a proposed green composting facility near San Luis Obispo off of Orcutt Road, announced that the applicants were withdrawing their application for the project.

The announcement comes just two days before a promised showdown at the March 27 SLO County Planning Commission meeting, for which residents near the potential site and vocally opposed to the proposed project planned to show up in droves and give planning commissioners an earful. The commissioners slated the application for that meeting after a hearing in February drew so much public comment and ire, there wasn't enough time to finish public comment.

Concerns centered on the smell of the composted organic matter, and the frequent truck trips that would bring the green waste into the facility. The conditional-use permit application included two 4-acre composting sites, a total of 150 trucks trips per day, and the intake of up to 300 tons a day. This triggered worry among nearby residents, who dreaded the smell becoming a part of daily life in the area and lowering property values.

Ron Rinell, owner of Bunyon Brothers Tree Service and one of the applicants, previously told New Times that the actual project would be much smaller than the permitted size.

Whether that was the case didn't matter for residents opposing the project, who said that no matter how big or small it was, it would still bring negative impacts.

One resident, who's emerged as one of the key leaders in the opposition, told New Times that community members were prepared to take the fight to any level necessary, including possible legal action.

"We will appeal, we will litigate, we will do whatever it takes," said Mary Lou Johnson.

In the statement from Boud, the applicants expressed disappointment that the project drew so much opposition: "All of the CEQA mandates were addressed and mitigations provided with conditions and agency oversight to provide multiple levels and regulatory compliant redundancy of the project. We were confident that this project would be approved by the County (Planning Commission and, if appealed, Board of Supervisors), with the County approval and CEQA challenges dismissed through any litigation brought forth, which was publicly threatened and highly advertised from some of those who have recently expressed opposition to the project.

"Let us be very clear in this matter. We never intended for this project to offend anyone or create such anger by some of those in the community."

To read the statement released by the applicants, click here.

To see New Times' recent article on the project, click here.

-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay

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