by ANDY SEVILLA
The controversial Paso Robles development proposed in the southern stretches of the city gained unanimous approval for annexation Tuesday night after numerous San Marcos residents voiced support for the project.
In the scheduled citizen comment period, resident after resident, and even non-residents with interests in San Marcos, implored council to approve annexation on first reading. Public interest in the proposed development has gained traction during the last two months due to environmental, traffic, and tax-incentive concerns. Tuesday was not an exception.
Dianne Wassenich, director of the San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF), has been an ardent opponent to the project because of its potential pollution to the Edwards Aquifer. A proposed 18-hole golf course within the development would be located, in part, above the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. Wassenich argues that herbicides and pesticides used on the golf course could trickle down to the aquifer. The golf course will be watered with treated waste water, except for the five holes that are situated above the aquifer, which will take on potable water.
“There are a lot of examples to follow (from a San Antonio agreement for a PGA golf course), about (required) liners, water testing, costs, etc,.” Wassenich said, adding that she would provide the agreement to councilmembers. “Better yet, think about open spaces instead of a golf course, which could be the filtering devices for the homes and apartments in Paso Robles. This could protect the aquifer from chemicals used on lawns, plus the sediment of construction, since we, sadly, don’t have ordinances requiring inspection or maintenance of construction phase erosion and sediment control facilities. And think of the sewer lines that will be blasted and rocksawed into this very sensitive area, and what that will do to the aquifer.”