Dalidio ranch project gets another chance



Measure J, the voter initiative to approve a development planned for Ernie Dalidio’s ranch, is valid. Again. At least for now.

The plan was passed with 65 percent support by county voters in 2006 but was subsequently challenged by the groups Citizens for Planning Responsibly and ECOSLO and in 2008 the vote was nullified by Judge Roger Picquet.

He had ruled that that certain parts of the decision weren’t within the scope of an initiative process. An appeals panel disagreed and upheld the original vote.

In a written statement, Dalidio lawyer James McKiernan said the decision gives the project the “green light.”

“The Dalidio Project can now move forward with the Dalidio Ranch,” he said. “The votes of San Luis Obispo County finally count.”

One member of Citizens for Planning Responsibly, Rosemary Wilvert, however, said the group is considering its legal options. Those would likely include appealing the decision to the state Supreme Court.

Plans for the 131-acre ranch near Highway 101 include a mix of retail stores, housing, and office space as well as a butterfly grove and open space. Opponents have worried it would lead to traffic congestion, hurt downtown SLO businesses, and set a bad precedent by allowing voters to trump county planning processes.

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