Enforcement Equality is Questionable

Unequal enforcement is alive and well in San Luis Obispo County, especially now with the ongoing influx of corporations and big money into the Paso Robles and Templeton areas. 

My family has a small farm and farm stand on Vineyard Drive, and we are hosts for RV travelers with the Harvest Host program. We do not pay to be a host nor are we paid by our guests. There is no water or power or hookups of any kind. The RVs are self-contained. No section of any county ordinance was violated. 

And yet county code enforcement found my family guilty of running a commercial RV park without proper permits. I was tried and fined. I never received a visit from code enforcement or a letter informing me that they suspected a violation. I was never given a chance to cure and correct. No due process. I simply received a copy of a violation notice in the mail. It cost us thousands of dollars. In the end, we were able to resume our activities. 

On the other hand, our new corporate neighbor, an owner of Riboli Family Wines and San Antonio Winery in Los Angeles, purchased Jada Winery across the street and is allowed to run a wind machine for frost protection on a new section of vines, [allegedly] with no repercussions. The noise and wind from this machine rattles our windows and makes it impossible to sleep.

Despite the manufacturer’s specifications showing a 1000 ft setback, the fan is about 130 ft from our barn, 300’ from our house, and right across from our Harvest Host RV guest parking spaces. 

Even though under the county “Right to Farm” ordinance,  this wind machine is a nuisance and not allowed as it violates CA Civil Code Section 3479 (“Anything which is injurious to health, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property….is a nuisance.”), it appears the owner feels it is his right to run the wind machine because “wind machines used for direct climate control” are exempt under the county noise ordinance. 

The county has failed to follow through on their 2022 request for standards and practices for wind machines, even though, under board direction, staff formed a committee with the ag department, the Agricultural Liaison Advisory Board, and other entities and drafted the document. 

So now, a giant corporation is dictating the quality of surrounding neighbors’ lives, as the wind machine droned on Friday night from 10:18 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. and Saturday night from 2:30 a.m. until again about 7:30 a.m. 

While I had the book thrown at me for allowing travelers to spend a night at our farm, the winery owner is able to disrupt the lives of neighbors with no consequence.

Claire Mamakos


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