Project Information:RI NU map

Case No.: PL17-0154 Applicant: CalWood, Inc. (dba Agromin)

Project Address: The project site is located at the south terminus of Edwards Ranch Road, 1,200 feet south of State Route 126, in unincorporated Ventura County. The proposed Ventura County Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance (NCZO) text amendment would apply to land zoned Agricultural Exclusive (AE) designated as "Prime", "Statewide Importance", "Unique" or "Local Importance" on the California Department of Conservation's Farmland Mapping and Monitoring program, Important Farmlands Maps within the unincorporated areas of Ventura County.

Project Assessor’s Parcel No.: 090-0-180-085

Planning Staff Contacts:

John Oquendo This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 805-654-3588

Jennifer Trunk, Planning Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 805-654-2468

Summary of Project Description

The applicant requests a text amendment to the NCZO to amend Section 8107-36.4.1(a) – General Standards Relating to Organics Processing Operations to allow commercial composting organics processing operations in the AE zone that meet specific criteria, as well as a Conditional Use Permit to construct and operate a new 70-acre commercial organics processing operation. The proposed project includes construction of six new buildings with a total footprint of 230,779 sq. ft. and a combination of open windrows, Covered Aerated Static Piles (CASPs), and Anaerobic Digestion (AD) systems to process food and green organic materials into saleable compost and mulch products.

A summary of the proposed ordinance amending Article 7, Section 8107-36.4.1(a) of the NCZO has been prepared as follows:

Proposed privately-initiated text amendment to the NCZO (Division 8, Chapter 1, of the Ventura County Ordinance Code) has been filed with the County of Ventura Resource Management Agency Planning Division. The purpose of the proposed revisions is to allow the development of organics processing operations within the Agricultural Exclusive (AE) zone for land that contains classified agricultural soils according to the Important Farmland Inventory (IFI).

The proposed text amendment includes the following revisions to the NCZO:

      • Section 8107-36.4.1(a) – General Standards Relating to Organics Processing Operations (Includes Biosolids, Composting, Vermicomposting, And Chipping And Griding)
      • Section 8107-36.4.1(a): Deletes language related to the conditional development of organics processing operations located in the AE zone on land designated on the Important Farmland Maps.
      • Section 8107-36.4(a)(1): Adds a provision that the Planning Director, in consultation with the Agricultural Commissioner, may permit the development of organics processing operations if the land is determined to be developed or otherwise unsuitable for agricultural use.
      • Section 8107-36.4(a)(2): Adds a provision to permit the development of commercial organics processing operations on land zoned AE with classified IFI soils subject to six new standards set forth in subsections (i) through (vi) which: (1) limit the combined total area of converted land to 200 acres county-wide; (2) require that 60 percent of the finished products generated by the operation be used for agricultural or accessory agricultural uses within Ventura County, the City of Carpinteria or outside the State of California (with preference given to Ventura County); (3) require that all feedstock be generated and collected within Ventura County or the City of Carpinteria; (4) limit the maximum size of a single commercial organics processing operation to 100 acres; (5) require that an applicant for a commercial organics processing operation demonstrate compliance with all terms and conditions of an applicable Land Conservation Act (LCA) contract if the operation is located on land subject to an LCA contract; and (6) require that the site be returned to its prior condition following completion of operations.

California Environmental Quality Act

Pursuant to CEQA (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) and the CEQA Guidelines (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15000 et seq.), the proposed project is subject to environmental review.

On March 20, 2020, the Planning Division distributed the Notice of Preparation (NOP) with an Initial Study and provided a 30-day comment period in accordance with CEQA Guidelines Section 15082. A public scoping meeting was held on April 22, 2020 via the Zoom online platform due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 30-day comment period, 12 letters on the scope of the analysis were received. Based this public input, the preparers of the Draft EIR evaluated potential project effects on the environment for the areas of agricultural resources (soils) and transportation (vehicle miles traveled (VMT)). The initial study identified mitigation measures for air quality, surface water quality, biological resources, cultural resources, noise, solid waste, and transportation and circulation which avoid or reduce potentially significant impacts of the proposed Project to a less than significant level.

The Draft EIR was circulated for public review and comment from October 19, 2021, to December 3, 2021. Staff received six comment letters during the Draft EIR public comment period; responses to those comments are included in the proposed Final EIR.

The Final EIR identifies two significant and unavoidable impacts resulting from the loss of Important Farmland and an identified increase in project-related VMT. The Final EIR is available here:

Final EIR Document

Appendix A – IS-NOP

Appendix B – NOP Comments

Appendix C – VMT Memo

Appendix D – Vacant Industrial Parcels

Appendix E – Responses to Comments on the Draft EIR

Planning Commission Recommendation

On December 16, 2021, the Ventura County Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed text amendment and conditional use permit application and voted 4-0 to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the proposed amendments and conditional use permit. The Commission also recommended to add a new condition of approval related to the tracking and reporting of the source of incoming feedstock and to amend a condition of approval to require that the applicant provide bathing facilities on site for employees and staff. To view the recorded public hearing, staff report and exhibits from the December 16, 2021 Planning Commission Public Hearing, please view the Planning Division website at Planning Commission.

Notice of Board of Supervisors Hearing

NOTICE IS HEREBY given that a public hearing, as provided by law, will be held by the BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF VENTURA COUNTY on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at 11:30AM to consider and decide on the Project described above. In accordance with Government Code section 54943(e)(1)(A) and in response to the declared state and local emergencies due to the Novel Coronavirus and local health officer recommendation regarding social distancing, the Hall of Administration Hearing Room is currently closed to the public. The Board of Supervisors is holding meetings electronically. To find out how you may electronically attend the Board of Supervisors and provide public comment please refer to our website Board of Supervisors Comments.