Exceptions To The Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Ordinance
PART 2: QUESTIONS ABOUT EXCEPTIONS TO THE ORDINANCE
The following information is from the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building Department concerning the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Ordinance.
These frequently asked questions are broken into three categories – the first set contains general questions about the applicability of the ordinance and how it is implemented; the second set provides answers about the various uses and permits that are not or may not be subject to the ordinance; and the third answers questions about wells.
For further questions, contact the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building Department at (805)781-5600 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have an existing vineyard with an existing well. Am I subject to the Urgency Ordinance?
Existing irrigated crop production (including irrigation practices) in effect as of Aug. 27, 2013 is not subject to the Urgency Ordinance. This includes all crops planted by Aug. 27, 2013.
I have an existing well, but I have not planted yet. Am I subject to the Urgency Ordinance?
Maybe. If you can provide satisfactory evidence that, prior to Aug. 27, 2013, that you have secured a “vested right” to complete site preparation, planting, or sale of product, then you may not be subject to the Urgency Ordinance.
A vested right will be determined on a case by case basis upon the submittal of supporting evidence. The ordinance requires that satisfactory evidence be provided, but does not impose specific limitations on what that evidence might consist of. It is anticipated that the Board of Supervisors may provide further explication of this question in a future interpretive resolution.
In the meantime, individual applicants should provide evidence they believe makes their strongest case that a vested right existed prior to the effective date of the ordinance. Staff will review the evidence that is provided with other County Departments, as applicable, and make a determination. Since this is a Planning Director’s decision, it is appealable to the Planning Commission and then the Planning Commission’s decision is appealable to the Board.
If you cannot prove a vested right, then the provisions of the Urgency Ordinance apply, and before you can establish your new irrigated agricultural use, you will need to comply with the offsets and the requirements for metering and monitoring of the well.