After an extensive and lengthy vetting process, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors finally gave the thumbs-up to a plan that would develop and expand the historic Dana Adobe in Nipomo.
Officially, the board unanimously decided to approve the final environmental impact report (EIR) for the project and change several land-use designations to OK development on that spot during their Dec. 10 meeting.
The plan, devised by the Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos (DANA) organization, would add a 6,226-square-foot visitor center, a small outdoor amphitheater, and a “Chumash Interpretive Area”—with a trail system, exhibits, a native plant garden, petroglyphs, and a traditional Chumash dwelling—to the site.
Most of the debate on the project centered on the presence of important Chumash archaeological sites on the property, and whether adequate steps are being taken to protect those sites.
“We supported this project for a long time, but the Dana Adobe has done some things that have broken our hearts,” said Fred Collins, tribal administrator with the Northern Chumash Tribal Council. “Our sacred sites need to be protected.”
While Collins, speaking at the board meeting, asked that the project be continued so that the developers could take further protective steps, a unified board deemed that was unnecessary.
“I am absolutely satisfied that this project holds the Chumash culture in reverence and that the important sites are adequately protected,” said District 4 Supervisor Caren Ray, whose district includes the site.
In a follow-up conversation with New Times, Ray explained that the project EIR was expressly completed because the Northern Chumash Tribal Council raised concerns earlier in the vetting process.
“The EIR is quantifiable, rather than opinions, which can be subjective,” Ray said. “Supervisors, as decision-makers, can stand firmly on the EIR because it addresses all possible impacts and mitigations.”
Ray said the project will move to the planning commission in early 2014 to seek approval of necessary permits. The public will have further opportunity to comment at those hearings.