Despite some complaints from nearby residents about traffic, wetland setbacks and other issues, the El Dorado County Planning Commission approved a special use permit for the Green Valley Nursery and Landscape business at its March 27 meeting.
Located in El Dorado Hills at the corner of Green Valley Road and Shadowfax Lane, the property is owned by the Orosco family. Their tenants, Don and Julie DeVorss, run a nursery and landscaping business at the site.
Over the last three years, the owners and applicants have been wrangling with county, state and federal agencies over what permits, licenses and conditions are required in order for the property to be used as a nursery.
A year ago, a hearing was scheduled before the planners to request a special use permit for the nursery. However, the item was continued so different issues could be resolved.
The hearing on March 27 was to approve the special use permit and all the conditions attached to it as worked out by the various parties over the past year.
County planner Tom Dougherty reviewed some of the key permit conditions that had been satisfied and which ones remained.
The commission also heard testimony from the Orascos and the DeVorsses, who said how hard they have worked to make the property a benefit to the community and a revenue source for the county.
However, neighbors of the nursery were more critical as they brought up issues of traffic, pollution and setback requirements. Dan Iverson, who lives on Shadowfax Lane, recommended a traffic study be done, saying all the truck traffic associated with the nursery was a hazard to residents as was the lack of a fire hydrant on the property. He also questioned why the applicant had been granted so many exemptions.
Another neighbor living on Shadowfax complained of debris in the stream, of garbage dumped close to her property and of odors emanating from burning debris and the portable toilets on the property.
Amy Anders, a representative of a community advocacy group called Friends of Green Valley, said she liked the nursery, but described a long list of problems that needed fixing, including the addition of a dedicated turn lane into the property off Green Valley Road; unpaid building permits and fees; the need for a traffic impact analysis; the potential of invasive weeds introduced by the nursery; inappropriate waivers for El Dorado Irrigation District water and sewer; runoff, erosion and pollution; the grading of 10,000 square feet without a permit; the need for a 50-foot wetland setback; and better enforcement of existing rules.
In response to these comments, the DeVorsses said porta-potties will be installed once they have electricity and they will meet all the specifications required. Julie Devorss said the nonconforming sign is down and they don’t burn on non-burn days. She also reiterated that their business license and other licenses are posted on their walls. As for the drainage issues, the DeVorsses said they existed before they began using the property.
The commissioners then spent almost 45 minutes with the owners and the applicants going over the 43 conditions attached to the permit, with Commissioner Rich Stewart asking them if they had read and understood every permit condition. He also asked how many of the conditions listed had already been met.
They responded by saying they had addressed a number of conditions, but assured the commission that within the year, everything would be complied with. Steward then suggested an additional condition of the permit be that they return in a year so their compliance with the permit conditions could be reviewed, saying that doing so would give them an incentive to get it done. Commissioner Brian Shinault and Chairman Walter Mathews agreed.
The commission then voted 4-0 to approve the special use permit. Commissioner Tom Heflin was absent.
In a separate action, the commission continued to May 8 the hearing regarding the El Dorado Hills Retirement Residence.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.