What Are You Doing About This? – July 6, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Note: With citizens wondering whether Arcata might still have any chance of hosting Cypress Grove Chevre’s goat dairy, we asked Mayor Susan Ornelas and Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace if, in the weeks since the project was canceled, they had contacted the company to try and salvage it for Arcata. Below are their responses. – Ed.

Mayor Susan Ornelas

I wrote Bob McCall and expressed dismay at how people conducted themselves at the meeting and showed shock at CG’s response to pull out. I wished the company the best of luck in finding a suitable dairy site, hopefully in the region.

I have publically [sic] stated that if anyone could develop a different model for a dairy system, I believe CG are the folks to do it.

Quote from me three weeks ago (the part you left out when using my quote):

“I spoke with Bob McCall of Cypress Grove today, and he said they intend to start with around 3-400 goats – which will be enough for us all to see if the system really is as modern as it is proposed. They understand people will complain if it isn’t managed well. And as Bob said, ‘We work right next to the dairy. We want clean, healthy milk.’

“The intent is to take a few years to develop the full dairy system. I think it will be interesting. Could be that they are bringing a modern concept to this region in intense, but healthy, dairy goat management. The proof will be in the management.

“I believe that Cypress Grove has been a good neighbor, and good manager, so far – so I want to believe, if anyone can pull of this type of system – I reasonably trust Cypress Grove to show us something new. Could be they will prove to be leaders in a boon to the local dairy industry.”

I think the County should have required a conditional use permit, based on the proposed density of the operation, and then maybe CG would have worked out more of the particular concerns of the neighbors, and been able to address the concerns more clearly.

I extended my sincere wishes from the City to CG and said we would assist them if we can.

Supervisor Mark Lovelace

I have spoken with Bob McCall about their decision and about their search for an alternate location. I am hopeful that they will be able to find another site in the Arcata area, and have pledged to assist them with that search.

I have also offered to help them work with the community when they have another site in mind. Bob has told me that I will be one of the first people he’ll call when they are ready to start moving forward again.

I have heard some people call for a “do-over,” and I would support that idea. While I appreciate Cypress Grove’s quick response to the neighborhood’s concerns, I believe their decision came before most people were able to get any accurate information about what was being proposed.

The pending close of escrow created a sense of urgency among some of the neighbors who felt the project would be a “done deal” once the sale closed. Without that deadline, perhaps it might be possible to have a more constructive dialogue about the project to see if some of the neighborhood’s concerns can be addressed in advance.


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