A year after the controversial decision from the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors gave Pasolivo the go ahead to expand its olive oil production and host events, a recent court ruling may send the project back through the wringer.
SLO Superior Court Judge Ginger Garrett ruled June 23 that the company must prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) before revisiting the approval process, should they chose to proceed. The group Save Adelaida, which filed the lawsuit against Pasolivo’s parent company, Willow Creek New Co. LLC, and SLO County for its approval of the project, hailed the ruling as a victory.
Pasolivo received a conditional use permit to expand their facilities and to hold up to 20 large event and several smaller events. The proposal included the demolition of an old red dairy barn to be replaced by a new building for oil processing and events.
As part of the permit approval, the county certified that the environmental impacts of the project weren’t significant enough to warrant the lengthy and costly EIR process.
Pasolivo and several wineries in the Adelaida area west of Paso Robles have received conditional use permits for facility expansion and events, all approved with a negative declaration.
The company became the example for Adelaida residents’ concerns over the larger impacts brought by those projects, and those concerns erupted into organized opposition to the Pasolivo project.
Typically, EIRs are done for things like general plans or land use ordinances, and not for the smaller individual projects. The county does have a winery ordinance that regulates tasting room and events uses.
Supervisors reluctantly approved the Pasolivo project on July 7 of last year, while acknowledging the larger concerns.
The June 23 ruling is the first time an EIR will be required for an individual project in that area and could require the same for similar projects in the future.
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay