The Santa Maria Times reports ..

A greenhouse operation proposed for a parcel off Fredensborg Canyon Road at the edge of Solvang city limits appears doomed to denial, but the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission won’t make the final decision until a special meeting set for Friday, Sept. 4.

Commissioners intend to deny the greenhouse because they see it as incompatible with surrounding agricultural lands and because it has the potential for nighttime light pollution as a “giant lightbulb,” as one commissioner described it.

On a 4-0 vote, with 5th District Commissioner Dan Blough absent, the commission directed the staff to develop findings for upholding an appeal and denying the project, based on its inconsistency with county policies, and bring them back for a vote at the special meeting.

Commissioner John Parke, whose 3rd District encompasses the project site, said the proposed greenhouse required additional environmental review, and he couldn’t agree with the staff’s findings for approving the project because he believes it’s in conflict with two land use policies.

However, county counsel advised commissioners they couldn’t deny the project based on the adequacy of the environmental review and could only prepare a negative declaration or require additional environmental study.

Map of ag-zoned land around Decker's proposed greenhouse site
A map from Steve Decker’s presentation on his proposed greenhouse operation shows the site, marked with a green oval, and surrounding parcels zoned AG-1 in red.

But the project could be denied based on its perceived conflict with County Comprehensive Plan policies.

So Parke’s motion focused on the project being incompatible with adjacent agricultural lands and its potential for light pollution, despite the applicant’s assurance the greenhouse lights would be completely blocked by curtains.

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