Sunday, March 1, 2015
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 [email protected]

Comments

comments

Jason McAlister

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    Sheriff: Mother ‘sole person responsible’ for infant’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rifle Team has a blast with competitive shooting

    By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Child abduction case in jury’s hands

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Pipeline project will soften water in 2016

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Pig out at Farmers Market’s Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
    Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Christie to Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: Colon prep can be hard to swallow

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Scouts help fill STEAC’s pantry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Explore Asia at Arboretum storytime

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    MU Games closing in late March

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Still no parole in toddler case

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offers wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Parole denied in 1987 killing spree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Young patients bond with special stuffies

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Diversity theater group continues creativity workshops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Radio talk show moves to Mondays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Assault awareness campaign kicks off

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    UCD student with meningococcal disease is recovering

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    UCD student panel to cover anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yolo Food Bank hosts thank-you breakfast on Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    Milt Priggee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Rowing: PE as well as life skills

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Police complaint procedures drafted

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Clarifying energy update letter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Weekly claw pickup necessary

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Mars or ISIS? Similar outcome

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    City may get charged up over energy choices

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Design innovation centers for the 21st century

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B5

     
    A new perspective on life

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A7

    Distant water crisis has lessons for Davis

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Call for study to settle if anesthesia poses risk to babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    .

    Sports

    Winning close games is the key for DHS softballers

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men get a bounce-back win at Cal Poly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    The mystery continues: lowly Gauchos upset UCD women

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils get a soccer win despite finishing woes

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Razo throws well as Aggies get a baseball win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Defending champion Blue Devils have diamond holes to fill

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Republic FC falls to storied New York Cosmos

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Yolo Federal Credit Union honored for supporting business education

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Online store will celebrate, mock People’s Republic of Davis

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, March 1, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8