Easy Bee Farm, located in Spanish Valley, produces and sells fruits, vegetables, eggs and other goods to local markets and directly to consumers through a community supported agriculture program. The owner, Rhonda Gotway-Clyde, submitted an application to open a farm stand on the property. She plans to renovate the garage portion of an existing additional dwelling unit into a location for selling farm produce. The building was once the milking parlor of a dairy that used to operate on the property.
County staff recommended that the commission approve the application, finding that the only potential impacts would be from increased noise, light, and traffic. According to the permit, these impacts will be mitigated by the business only operating during daylight hours, and by farm staff managing hours and business in a way that spreads out traffic over time, rather than encouraging traffic to cluster all at once.
Commissioner Trisha Hedin said she supports the Easy Bee farm stand, but urged commissioners to think about the long-term, big picture impacts of conditional-use permits. For example, she said, the street where the farm stand is located isn’t built to handle even the current amount of traffic it sees.
“When I walk down that street, the sides are crumbling,” Hedin said.
Gotway-Clyde explained that she doesn’t expect the farm stand to substantially increase traffic; rather, it’s an alternative way to do business with mostly existing customers.
Sloan clarified that the commission’s role in considering a conditional use permit is really to determine whether the probable impacts can be effectively mitigated, rather than a discretionary evaluation of the request.
“There’s a very, very high bar for disallowing the conditional use,” Sloan said.
The commission approved the application five to zero, with Hedin abstaining because she lives next to Easy Bee Farm.