SLO County code enforcement officials have asked Santa Margarita Ranch winery owners to remove two parked trucks painted with a billboard-like sign or face a $100 fine, according to Art Trinidade, code enforcement supervisor.
He sent a letter to ranch owner Rob Rossi on Feb. 3, asking for the removal. Winery owners had not responded to New Times’ requests for comment as of press time.
The two trucks, parked on agriculturally zoned land on the north and south sides of the Santa Margarita exit along Highway 101, are each decorated with a colorful photo and directions to the Ancient Peaks wine tasting room in Santa Margarita.
“The ranch representatives are saying they are just ag vehicles parked in an ag area. But we feel their argument is specious,” Trinidade said.
“We’ve determined that the trucks are advertising a business in Santa Margarita,” he explained. “We see that as offsite signage, which—except for a few exemptions—is not allowed.”
A sign is defined as something that draws attention to a product, service, business, or organization, he noted, adding, “This does.”
The winery owners have 20 days to appeal the code enforcement action, and can then appeal the county hearing officer’s decision to Superior Court.