Sunday, April 26, 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

    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5