The Paso Robles Planning Commission has given Justin Vineyards and Winery the green light on a project to construct a new wine storage facility, even though a few trees would pay the price.
In 2016, Justin Vineyards received a lot of criticism for cutting down hundreds of oak trees to plant more vineyards.
Two years later, they are looking to build an approximately 100,000 square foot wine storage facility on their Wisteria Lane site near the airport.
It would mean cutting down more oak trees, which would require replacement under the city’s Oak Tree Preservation ordinance.
A minimum of 28 Blue Oak Trees would be planted in place of the old ones and the hundreds of trees neighboring the construction site would be preserved.
Paso Robles Associate Planner Darren Nash explained why they recommended the approval of the oak tree removal: "The need for expansion and the trees, some of the trees were dead and some of the trees were there."
Matt Steel, General Manager of Justin Vineyards and Winery said in a statement, "We’ve worked closely with the City of Paso Robles to prepare for the construction of a new storage facility next to our offices which will spur local economic growth and allow for the hiring of additional staff. The new structure will improve site safety, while consolidating barrel storage and promoting sustainable production. While there are 13 mostly dead or dying trees that must be removed to facilitate this expansion, we have consulted with an arborist during the design phase to ensure that our project footprint has a minimal impact on our adjacent property. In addition, we will protect hundreds of Blue Oaks to the north of the project site with an open space easement that guarantees the preservation of these woodlands."
Steel says the proposed project would enhance employee safety by keeping barrel storage to one location.
Before any trees are removed, the Paso Robles City Council would need to approve it, according to the city’s Oak Tree Preservation ordinance.
The city council meets next Tuesday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m.