By Jennifer Henion
Triplicate staff writer
A hot two-hour debate over the new location of Mick Thomas' Hiouchi fishing-guide-and-kayak business ended yesterday as Thomas gained the support of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors.
But in a new twist, Thomas may not locate to the debated parcel after all.
After the long line of speakers, for-and-against Thomas' new business location on the corner of Sunkist Lane and Highway 199, Supervisor Clyde Eller was handed a note.
The note suggested the county sell its vacant property located nearer Hiouchi Market to Thomas.
The county's Chief Administrative Officer Jeannine Galatioto agreed the idea was worth checking into. And Thomas agreed to consider that lot, off Hiouchi Drive and Jedediah Way.
As the public hearing ended and previously angry neighbors trailed out, they implored Thomas to look at the county property.
"You know what, that would actually be better for me," Thomas told one woman.
Those neighboring the corner of Sunkist Lane and Highway 199 lost their battle against Thomas despite a petition they submitted with 150 signatures against the project.
Supervisor David Finigan abstained from voting on the issue, citing a conflict of interest.
Supervisors Martha McClure, Jack Reese and Clyde Eller voted strongly against the neighbors' appeal and Supervisor Chuck Blackburn voted last to approve the appeal, citing the high number of his district constituents who are against Thomas' project.
Thomas has operated the guide-and-rental business for 10 years at its previous location behind the Hiouchi Cafe, directly across from the Hiouchi Market.
To get better exposure for the business, Thomas decided to relocate and found the corner lot at Sunkist Lane his only viable option, he said.
Residents of Sunkist feared the business would cause early morning noise and light disturbances and generally detract from their quiet lifestyle.
The Del Norte County Planning
Commission and planning staff determined, however, that the lot was zoned properly for the business and that the business would not significantly disrupt the present state of the area.