Op Ed: Waste Matters in Los Olivos

By Kathryn Lohmeyer Rohrer of Los Olivos

Nobody really wants to talk about “effluent,” but people who live, own property, and operate businesses in and around Los Olivos need accurate information about the town’s septic-to-sewer project.

The Los Olivos Community Services District (LOCSD) was formed in 2018, on assurances that the 392-lot District would retain local control over solving its groundwater quality problem.

Today, the LOCSD can either prioritize preserving the historic charm and rural landscapes that draw us and countless visitors to this Valley, or it can pursue sewer infrastructure that will encourage development, density, and sprawl north along Figueroa Mountain Road and south towards Ballard until it meets Solvang.  

To protect against the pernicious “scope creep” so many infrastructure projects fall victim to, Valley residents need to help keep an eye on this project.

What can we do? 

Attend the Candidates Forum hosted by the Los Olivos Rotary Club, Preservation of Los Olivos (POLO), and Women’s Environmental Watch (WeWatch) at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5, at 6:00 p.m., Los Olivos Elementary School. 

Ask questions.

1. Which candidate(s) will support, and expend taxpayer money, only on the “local phased” approach: start by building a system in and for the township’s commercial core, while actively monitoring groundwater quality, as the County proposed in 2010, and the LOCSD pledged to do in 2019? 

2. Which candidate(s) support having Los Olivos homeowners foot the bill to tear up every road and alley, and build a 1.9-acre open-air sewage treatment plant that will enable developers to replace our farmland with high-rises and strip malls?

3. Which candidate(s) support using eminent domain to take a family’s land away from them to build a sewage plant when we already have County land sufficient for a system for the downtown businesses? 

4. Which candidate(s) will pledge to respect – and to not disregard or override –the County’s SYV Community Plan protections, e.g., maintaining the Valley’s rural character and scenic quality, preserving and enhancing the viability of agriculture, maintaining greenbelts between our towns, and avoiding sprawl-style development.

Join the conversation on October 5th at 6:00 p.m. at Los Olivos Elementary School.

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