Strawberry Fields–Not Forever

The County Board of Supervisors has voted to allow a carwash and mini-storage project to replace some Strawberry fields on the Nipomo Mesa.  It’s always sad to see open space strawberry fields go–but on the other hand the land owners do have rights as well.   The San Luis Tribune noted:

The Nipomo Mesa will get a self-service car wash and mini-storage facility on Highway 1 despite efforts by neighbors to sink the proposal. When they are built, the car wash and storage will replace a strawberry field near Highway 1 and Willow Road.

After a two-hour hearing Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved the 1,900 square foot car wash and 88,127 square foot storage facility, after the board agreed to tightly monitor water use and quality.

Neighbors from a nearby subdivision all said the car wash would create traffic, noise and especially, water problems. Nipomo has been faced with a water shortage. However, county planners said they had put conditions on the application to alleviate those concerns.

Supervisor Jim Patterson noted that the strawberries use more water than the self-serve car wash would. An attorney for applicants Scott Adams and Cathy Boland said his clients had changed their earlier request to build an automated car wash, which would use far more water, to self-serve.

The water argument is bogus.  Agriculture uses way more water than business and residences–but using water as a weapon to halt any development has become all the recent rage out here in Nipomo.  

At Supervisor Bruce Gibson’s suggestion, the board added a water use fee for the car wash. That is a fee that is usually applied to houses, and Supervisor Frank Mecham objected that it was “kind of an after-the-fact thing.” But Mecham went along in the end. Supervisors also agreed to meter water use and require an attendant to be on duty when the car wash is open.

I have to agree the water use fee was unfair, particularly if it is supposed to apply to houses, and was not part of the original requirements.  But, for now the county calls the shots here in Nipomo.  Another argument for Nipomo’s Incorporation.  Come to the Nipomo County to City presentation 03/28/09.

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