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Laetitia development Feb 2010

   We have a commercial landowner nearby who is proposing developing their property in a way that makes most of us worry about the local water supply and traffic concerns. Since the land in question changed hands twelve years ago, they have switched from dry land bean/hay farming with no inputs of water, to a wine-growing vineyard operation with thousands of acres now under irrigation. As the owner drills wells and makes his millions, he is slowly draining the water level, causing some dismay among nearby people who have had their wells go dry.  A coalition of locals has been formed to fight this unwise expansion that threatens to displace many families when their wells go dry. Here is their latest letter.

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Hello Neighbors,

 

I know that many of you are following the recent news stories about the Caltrans proposal to block the five crossings on Highway 101 between the Thompson/Los Berros exit and the Traffic Way exit in Arroyo Grande. Click here to see the recent article in the Adobe Press.

laetitia022210

 

Your NiHA Steering Committee met last week to form a stance on this proposal and to draft a letter to Caltrans. Keep in mind that one of our concerns is that if the freeway crossing opposite of the Laetitia winery is closed, it will give Laetitia an arguing point to force all access to their winery and proposed housing development through the Thompson/Sheehy/Dana Foothill/ULBR entrance. This is not good, since, as you know, our roads cannot handle this heavy traffic. The Laetitia housing development alone calls for and an added 1,000 vehicle trips per day through our little country roads!

 

I have attached the letter that was sent today to Caltrans, SCAC, and Katcho Achadjian. I hope you will take the time to read it.

 

I would encourage all of you to write a similar letter expressing your concerns to:

Matt Fowler

Caltrans

50 Higuera Street

SLO, CA 93401

 

Jay H.

The Nipomo Hills Alliance

 

 

PS: With all the rain we have had this season, you might expect Los Berros creek to be running. Right?

Wrong. As it passes Laetitia, it flowed for only two days, and has been dry ever since.

 

Also…do you have neighbors that would like to keep informed on this email list? If so, please let me know of their address.

 

 

Laetitia Vineyard nighttime harvest

Our neighbors Laetitia Vineyards have started their grape harvest.
They work around the clock and through the nights so they can get
all the many hundreds of acres harvested on time.
At nighttime they truck in these large lights operated by generators.

In general I know they try to adhere to sustainable practices.
They use bio-fuels where they can. They use drip systems and install raptor perches.
They have been inspected and found to be holding to sustainable ag principles

However sustainable agriculture has different interpretations.
And I don’t like that they seem to be sucking up all the water.
Sustainable means it can be sustained at that level indefinitely
(that means generation after generation for like… a thousand years!).

I also start to get an uncomfortable feeling when local ‘big-business people’
actually spend much of their time a hundred or miles away on another place…..
and when they have several of these large farms here and there….
Maybe that’s the European Kulak in me…
and the Southern small farmer

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

When I drive this road at night, usually there are miles I go with no lights to be seen…..
then to all of a sudden come around the bend and see these lights,
like some movie being filmed is disconcerting.

But I am glad to see work being done, production etc.

Yet a number of us have allied together to fight the latest expansion of these fields….
an expansion that includes a ‘Dude Ranch’
with stables, private houses, and rental cabins.

 

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Yet I am also conflicted with all the fuel used for lighting,
and the massive use of water the vineyard takes.
Since they put in the vineyards, the water level in the creek lowered,
and it has now stopped running for several months.

 

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

My sense of capitalism says a person can do what
they want with their land within limits….
but do those limits extend to overdraft of the limited local water supply?

Lao Tzu
Chapter 53

The gentry wear elaborate richly embroidered clothes,
eat and drink in excess with their sharp swords at their sides,
these are surely the robber barons.
This is not in keeping with the Way.

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

These several thousands of Corporate acres are owned by one person,
and many of the people in that field are given work
for a short time during this harvest season.
How much better off would they and me all be if this land
was held by several hundred small growers?
Each trying to live a regenerative low-impact lifestyle, growing local foods…
and pooling resources to send co-operative food to further areas.

Lao Tzu
Chapter 77

The way of nature is much like the drawing of a bow.
That which is high is lowered,
and that which is low is brought up.
The excess is removed,
and where there is deficiency more is added.
The way of nature is to reduce the excesses
and spread them to where there is deficiency.

The way of Man is otherwise,
Mans way is to take from those who have little,
and give to those who have much.

Who is it that can offer more to the world, and have still more to offer?
Only the person of the Tao.

Therefore the sage acts without laying claim to the act.
He can accomplish without boasting.
He has no wish to appear superior.

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

They could be using water-capture techniques to hold rainwater
so they’d pull less from the ground.
Individual small landholdings of five acres of good soils like this
can be effectively and intensively farmed.
Resulting in overall less water use than currently, more infiltration,
less water run-off and more of a diversified environment.
The mono-culture of hundreds of acres of one plant encourages insect and disease issues.

No wonder grapes are one of the most intensively sprayed crop in California.

Luckily, although we consider them neighbors…
they are still some four miles from our place.

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

 

Tao teh Ching
Chapter 80

I see a small country of small population.
A simple folk, who even if highly skilled work simply and easily.
Tools are seldom used. They do not bother to invent time-saving appliances.
They would dearly love life, and would take care to avoid death.
Since they would love their homes and land, they would not care to wander.
Even with their horses, boats and carts, they do not wish to travel about.
Though they may have armor and weapons, these are kept out of sight.
These people would return to simple techniques for record keeping.
Their food would be tasty but simple; their clothing would be unpretentious.
They would be content with their simple homes,
and the simple pleasures and customs of a simple people.
And even though there might be a neighboring land within sight,
so that the crowing of roosters and the barking of dogs can be heard from it;
these people will have lived their entire life without ever having gone to that country.

 

 

Waiting for the Wheel to turn

“Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it”
~Santayana~

  Resistant to change….

   Not for the sake of resistance itself, or in a stubborn mood merely to be contrary… but this area resists incursions due to having seen what happens in other places taken over by development.  The move into this area to bring dude ranches, and resorts has a beneficial side in some aspects.. but the realities of water always trump politics… it’s just by the time the wells have gone dry… the developers have gotten their money and left… and part-time homes is what remain.

 

   Throughout history people have been moved from their homes due to natural disasters and man-made contrivances….. I’d like to say ‘Never Again’, but know it is the way of man to do so.  We have… in this small canyon a developer proposing to expand the population of the canyon by a percentage of several hundred percent.. we don’t have the water for this…. so a group of us in the canyon have banded together to resist this change… because if it goes through, the character of our rural isolated canyon will be irrevocably changed…. and when the wells go dry… there will be no option but to move.  Again, invaders from the south have entered into Highlands, offering gold to those who would take the bargain…. and they have it now in someone willing to turn over several hundred acres for development of a dude ranch… and over 100 new homes, in an area that has only 35 homes presently along ten miles of canyon and the many miles of side-canyons. These will be folks not on their own well, but a dozen high-output shared wells for the development, and knowing the precarious water situation here, they’d be folks from LA who don’t know what it means to live within their own resources… they’ll be putting in large and lush grass lawns and using several times the amount of water that the present inhabitants use.  Times change…. The Clearances were done by force… our clearance will probably happen when they make our wells go dry.  But they won’t need to send the police in to move us…. we’ll pack our bags, wave goodbye to the hills and leave when we’re thirsty enough and everything has died around us.

  For previous postings on this subject, please see the ‘Laetitia Development’ section to the right. We need all the help and advice we can get to stop this development.

 

 

Here come the Clearances my friend
silently our history is coming to life again
We feel the breeze from the storm to come
and up and down this coast
we’re waiting for the wheel to turn

Yes, you’re taking it all away
the music, the tongue and the old refrains
you’re coming here to play
but you’re pulling the roots from a dying age

~Capercaillie~

 

 

“The pen is mightier than the sword”
~Edward Bulwer-Lytton~

 

 

~Capercaillie~
‘Waiting for the Wheel to turn’

 

Living in a place with time
Living in a place where reality is
Standing on a big broad line
Watching it all go by
Ah, but you’re taking it all away
the music, the tongue and the old refrains
You’re coming here to play
but you’re pulling the roots from a dying age

 

 

Remember the Buachaille Mor
reaching for the skies from the barren shores
Watching over the village of Burns
and counting the days since the Gael kept home
but the stranger claims it now
sitting like a king with his gold from the south
don’t you see the waves of wealth
washing away the soul from the land

 

 

Here come the Clearances my friend
silently our history is coming to life again
We feel the breeze from the storm to come
and up and down the coast
we’re waiting for the wheel to turn

 

 

Free were the Fields of Fern
Free was the fishing in the coves of Care
empty are the homes of old
empty for the sake of summers cause
Yes, you’re taking it all away
the music, the tongue and the old refrains
you’re coming here to play
and you’re pulling the roots from a dying age

 

 

 

Here come the Clearances my friend
silently our history is coming to life again
We feel the breeze from the storm to come
and up and down the coast
we’re waiting for the wheel to turn

 

 

 

Laetitia developments

Nipomo Hills Alliance

Laetitia Ag Cluster Update

 

 

Hello Neighbors,

 

It has been confirmed that the Planning Commission meeting will be delayed
until later this summer, because the County has demanded a second opinion,
called a “peer review”, from another hydrogeologist, due to the many doubts
about the Cleath Water Study that was funded by Laetitia. We will keep you
posted as to the exact date.

 

The NiHA Steering Committee has decided to postpone the decision of whether
or not to hire our own hydrogeologist until we know the outcome of this
second report.

 

As we wait for this important meeting, we will continue our letter writing
campaign and the gathering of data on the problem wells in our neighborhood.

 

On February 17th our Board of Supervisors will be meeting to discuss the
recommendations to change the Ag Cluster Ordinance, since it has been so
problematic.

 

In the meantime, the water situation for our area remains critical. Click
<http://www.santamariatimes.com/articles/2009/02/11/news/centralcoast/news07
.txt>  here to read about how Nipomo Mesa’s current demand for water is
exceeding its supply and is in an overdraft situation. Keep in mind that
this article refers to the aquifer on the Mesa within the Nipomo Community
Service District. This type of aquifer is measurable and predictable. In
contrast, our homes are over rock, called “fractured shale”. The water
coming from this type of formation is inherently unpredictable, cannot
accurately measured, and is prone to suddenly drying up.

 

We will keep you informed as we learn more about the upcoming water report
and the Planning Commission meeting. Our attorney, Peter Candy, is doing a
good job of collecting all the necessary data.

 

Be assured that your money is being conservatively managed for the greatest
impact in stopping this development in order to protect our homes. Thanks
again for contributing to NiHA!