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Nipomo developers' thirsts quenched for now 

Developers in Nipomo once again have access to water for new projects thanks to a recent ordinance by the Nipomo Community Services District. During its March 13 meeting, the district board unanimously voted to immediately suspend a previous ordinance that had halted the processing of new water-service applications.

The new ordinance—along with the date of its implementation—was set at the Feb. 27 board meeting. The limit on new water-service applications had been put in place after voters turned down plans last June for an inter-tie pipeline to receive water from Santa Maria. The NCSD has been searching for new sources of water since a judge ordered nearly two decades ago that it provide at least an additional 2,500 acre-feet per year to its residents in a court settlement over water rights in the Santa Maria Valley Groundwater Basin.

On Feb. 13, the board approved funding for a scaled-down version of the pipeline to Santa Maria that would require no additional taxes; as a result, the board also voted to consider ending the suspension on new water-service applications. At the time of that meeting, the board had discussed the idea of opening new applications only to developers who had already begun projects, but the new ordinance doesn’t have such a requirement.

“We continued to process for anybody who was in our pipeline, if you will, or in our process for application,” said district general manager Michael LeBrun. “We never halted those folks.”

Nevertheless, by voting to suspend the previous ordinance instead of repealing it, the door has been left open to reinstate the limitation if the water situation changes, according to a press release from the district regarding the decision.

“If something goes awry with our schedule as we move forward on the supplemental water, then [the district is] going to move right back to moratorium, because we think it’s critical that the community has a supplemental source of water before we continue signing up new customers,” LeBrun added.

One example of such a change is if the district doesn’t choose a bid for the inter-tie pipeline’s construction. This is unlikely for the interim given that LeBrun noted how more than 30 contractors have attended pre-bid meetings. The board is scheduled to look at all of the bids for the inter-tie pipeline at the end of the month.

For now, all developers can apply. And they are.

“There has been interest. We’ve got maybe half a dozen new applications in since [the new ordinance],” LeBrun said. ∆

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