Ag conversion unlikely



Amid fervent neighbor complaints, a land parcel near the county airport will likely stay agricultural and not be converted to an industrial/commercial center.


SLO County supervisors didn’t take action, but clearly were leaning away from a request to rezone 56 acres of agriculture land—located between the airport and a subdivision—from owner Ben Maddalena, who is seeking to rezone the property to a mixture of industrial and commercial.


County planning commissioners unanimously rejected the request late last year. Maddalena appealed to the board of supervisors, but asked for a last-minute continuance before the scheduled public hearing on Aug. 11. County supervisors delayed their vote until Aug. 25.


Maddalena didn’t show, but a crowd of angry neighbors did. About 25 people came to the hearing to protest the rezoning.

Neighbors said the new industrial and commercial sites would increase traffic and make their streets unsafe. They also complained rezoning the land would remove a buffer of open space around the city of SLO.


“I think this would totally disrupt the environment and the community that we have there; that we love,” resident Paul White said.


But Maddalena told New Times the last board of supervisors wouldn’t allow him to build houses five years ago; they wanted industrial development instead. Things changed with the new board members, he added.


“And there’s a few cranky neighbors who got other people cranky and upset,” Maddalena said. ∆

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