After we were told in November, 2015, in response to our special use permit application, that we couldn’t do a retreat center under our current zoning, we were waiting for the County Board of Supervisors to vote yay or nay on the new Zoning Ordinance Update. If they voted yes, then our zone would be automatically updated to a new zone that does allow us to do a retreat center. On December 15, the Board of Supes did in fact vote yes on the new ordinance, and it went into effect 30 days later.
Yet as we feared, a small group of people who live in the county filed a lawsuit on January 13, 2016 against the zoning ordinance. And as I discussed in detail in my last blog post about this, it often can take years to resolve these types of lawsuits so it seemed that we were stuck. I spent a few weeks looking at different scenarios for what we were allowed to do with our current zoning, and even toyed with the idea of building a Bed & Breakfast, but realized after I ran the numbers that it was just too expensive and wouldn’t be feasible. We were really at a loss at that point.
Then, about two weeks ago I received a facebook message from the County Supervisor of our District telling me that the zoning ordinance has gone into effect and that I should call his office to discuss it. I was pretty floored, I have to say. You know you live in a sparsely populated area when you get a facebook message from your elected representative! Imagine that happening in Oakland or San Francisco. Ramon and I had already met with him back in October so he was familiar with our project and supported it, but I never anticipated he would read our blog and stay abreast of our project. I honestly only thought my mother was reading our blog (okay, and a few of our friends too).
(As a side note, I went back to make sure I hadn’t written anything inflammatory. Not that I ever really do, but I thought it was a good idea to check nonetheless. You never know what you might have communicated in the heat of the moment.)
Long story short, there is no court injunction at the moment (which is HIGHLY unusual) and if there is one at all, it won’t be for several months or even a year. We need to revise our Project Description to fit into the new guidelines (nothing substantive, more just the way we describe the different aspects of the project), and submit the revisions asap. As long our Special Use Permit is in hand before any court injunction is issued, we are good to go. They can’t take it away from us once they give it to us.
As we left the meeting Ramon and I of course thanked the planning staff and our Supervisor profusely because really, if he hadn’t reached out to us I’m not sure where we would be right now. His parting words to us were (and I paraphrase), “Well it’s not like we are going to attract Intel to our part of the County, so you are our hope for economic development on the Georgetown Divide.”
It’s not every day you get compared to Intel. Who knew we’d become “Start-up: Rural Edition.”