Thursday, July 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Plowing through all that red tape

turkovich1W

The Turkovich production facility. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | March 11, 2014 |

Chris Turkovich caused Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, to do a double-take when he spoke before a recent agritourism panel on which she sat.

Turkovich described that it took 24 agencies to construct a simple 4,800 square-foot winemaking building in the county.

“Can you please list those agencies,” Yamada asked.

Turkovich’s list went on and on — permits from county and state entities ranging from conservation, utilities, fire and sheriff’s departments, waste management, mosquito control, planning and so forth, which all had to be managed while trying to run his business.

“It’s incredible what you need permission to do and what that takes in time and fees,” said Turkovich, of Turkovich Family Wines, in Winters. “There’s no real common sense in that process.”

Turkovich wanted to put modern, energy-efficient LED lighting in his facility that would also keep the temperature down for his wines, but there was no certification process in place for the more efficient LEDs he wanted.

When asked to build a retention pond to store water that the building deflects from the land, Turkovich complied, only to find another state agency wanted the walls of the pond to be shaped differently, which would require it to be rebuilt.

To reach a compromise between these agencies, Turkovich said he had to set up a conference call himself for the agencies to agree on a retention pond shape. And to move that water to irrigate his fields, a different, lengthy form would be needed for each field, he said.

Yolo and Solano County Farmbudsman Michelle Stephens was hired last year — after Turkovich’s building was completed — to help farmers in the county to navigate through the process.

“If we were going to be redoing Chris’ project with me in place, I would be working to do the back and forth to free up the business person’s time,” Stephens said. “The farmer talks to me about their plan and I do the research to find out the permitting process.

“As far as the county is concerned, the projects I’ve worked on since I started … I haven’t had any trouble getting them to meet in the same room,” Stephens added.

But often the county has no choice but to comply with state and federal regulations, said both Stephens and David Morrison, assistant director for the department of planning and public works for Yolo County.

“I understand people’s frustration with the time and cost,” he said. “We serve as a clearing house. We get everyone together and say ‘Here’s what’s being proposed.’ We can’t get everyone on the same page because we don’t all operate on the same page.”

Morrison said often regulations aren’t consistent, which is more of a state issue.

For any county development project, the Planning and Public Works Department meets to discuss the regulations for many federal, state and county regulators to resolve conflicts “for the benefit of the applicant, who is otherwise going to get caught between two agencies — a rock and a hard place.”

Morrison said the process has been streamlined in the county in a few areas including fewer inspections for re-roofing, no longer inspecting water heaters in some cases, and no longer inspecting insulation — “that won’t affect health and safety but will reduce costs and time.”

Other improvements will help small wineries with fewer than 200,000 cases, which will no longer require a use permit that could take months of public hearings, as well as eliminating use permits for bed and breakfasts with six or fewer rooms, he added.

“(We’ve) made a lot of strides in the last few years to reduce the number of inspections and red tape, but we can’t eliminate it altogether or override state laws and requirements that will continue to be enforced,” he said. “We want to preserve ag and open space. If you relax too many rules, you’ll see McDonald’s and subdivisions, and that’s not what people want.”

For Turkovich, navigating the permitting process has “a compounding effect. A lot of the agencies involved say, ‘Tell us the one regulation that’s suffocating and we’ll try to address it.’ It’s not one specific one. It’s all of them at once.”

Turkovich said he is glad to have Stephens in the farmbudsman position.

“Ideally, we don’t need a farmbudsman. Our goal should be a system that is streamlined,” he said. “Since we don’t have that system, we definitely need that position. If she were around (at the time), our project would have gone a lot smoother and saved us money.”

— Reach Jason McAlister at jmcalister@davisenterprise.net.

Comments

comments

Jason McAlister

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Local therapists bring ‘Daring Greatly’ movement to Davis

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis area youths learn wilderness survival skills

    By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Crews battle grass fire near Davis

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Sorting out the claims after pipe break: Who pays?

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Governor says immigration solution is a priority

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Firefighters keep Yosemite blaze far from sequoias

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Police nab three for vehicle theft

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    As farmland subsides, aquifer worries mount

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Pogledich named Yolo County counsel

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Tuleyome launches Kickstarter campaign to publish a children’s nature book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Davis teen on California team for national horticulture competition

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Truth and authenticity on radio program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Senior sing-along held monthly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    A rose by any other name

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Civilians are innocent victims

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Thanks for your kindnesses

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Questions, questions, questions

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Ross Douthat: Democrat, Republican patterns are changing

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    River Cats snap three-game losing streak

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Water Polo U10 girls are golden

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

    Aggie Silva mixed school and strikes; wins Reno tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lucky No. 7: Giants snap losing streak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Davis Rugby teams wrap up summer season

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    DHS tryout schedule updated; physical packets due

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    49ers WR Brandon Lloyd enjoying return to NFL

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Hammel struggles in A’s loss to Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Happy 103rd birthday!

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A2

     
    Fay Libet: 100 years young

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Future subscriber: Sonya Theresa Arnold

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Arts

    Hot City heats up Winters gazebo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Enjoy some Mischief at First Saturday event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    British organist to play in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Native American dancers to perform in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Winters stages ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Landscape exhibition returns to Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Hear live music at Monticello

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    New KDRT show features touring musicians

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, July 31, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6