EDH nursery getting up to code

By March 14, 2014

A hearing to consider a request to permit a nursery and landscaping business in the north El Dorado Hills area is planned for the March 27 meeting of the El Dorado County Planning Commission.

The business is located on a 9.6-acre parcel on the southeast corner of the intersection of Shadowfax Lane and Green Valley Road.

The applicants are Don and Julie Devorss. The owner of the property is Barbara Orosco.

Business activities subject to the permit include outdoor sale and storage of landscape plants and bulk landscape materials and outdoor growing areas. Also to be permitted would be the operation of a landscaping business, seasonal sales of Christmas trees and pumpkins, the growing and sale of fruit and vegetables, and the continued operation of the growing and sale of strawberries by a separate tenant.

The nursery has been in operation for the past three years in spite of being in violation of various county, state and federal regulations.

According to the county staff report, in early 2011, “The applicants moved a modular building onto the parcel, began grading for a parking area, distributed and flattened soil north of the stream, installed signs in excess of what is allowed and commenced operating a nursery and landscaping business without the required special use and planned development permits, building and grading permits or a business license approved for this location. There is no septic system, public sewer or water system, or permanent bathroom facility currently utilized by the nursery’s modular office and sales building. The business is currently operating at the site without a business license approved for that location.”

In June 2011, a Notice to Correct for operating a commercial nursery without the required permits was issued by Code Enforcement in response to a complaint filed by the public. The applicants were informed they were to cease illegal use of the property immediately and to obtain the required special use permit before continuing. In July, a second Notice to Correct was issued for signage in excess of that allowed and for a trailer occupied without a building permit. The applicants were once again informed to cease operations to obtain the required special use permit. In August, the applicants submitted an application for a Planned Development and Special Use Permit but it was found to be incomplete.

In October 2012, a complete application was finally approved by planning staff; however, in the meantime, the applicants were informed they were infringing on the 50-foot stream setback. Rather than respond to the notice, they reportedly instead graded the entire area up to the edge of an intermittent stream on the property and bulldozed the entire stream bed and banks. This brought an additional Code Compliance Case for grading more than 10,000 square feet of land without a permit and for not using any required erosion control methods. The U.S. Army Corps and California Department of Fish and Wildlife also became involved and the applicants were informed of the need for permits from those agencies as well.

A technical advisory committee meeting was scheduled in November 2012 involving a cross-section of county agencies. However neither the applicants nor the property owners attended.

The proposed project is now scheduled for a hearing. Staff are recommending approval of the special use permit subject to numerous conditions.

The planning commission meets March 27, 8:30 a.m. at 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville.

Dawn Hodson


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