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Olive Leaf Press is a new olive oil production facility located on 10 acres west of the town of Sebastopol in Sonoma County.  It is adjacent to a 37 acre olive orchard planted by Olive Leaf Press owner in 2008.  In addition to estate grown olives, Olive Leaf Press will purchase olives from other local growers.  An olive oil tasting room, event facility and gardens will welcome visitors.

Planning Services:  Two challenges were presented in the planning realm.  The first challenge was in presenting the second “estate” olive oil processing facility in Sonoma County.  There being only one prior model in the McEvoy Ranch, the planners did not have a lot of prior experience, so working out the conditions for the Use Permit and Williamson Act was a challenge.  Research and analysis was required to provide parameters for the background or baseline data for the project description.  Significant effort was expended in communications with the Owner, County Farm Advisor, and the olive processing equipment manufacturer. The second challenge was in accommodating the client’s shifting objectives while integrating his concepts into a somewhat constrained site, and on through the actual construction stages. Major changes included deletion of the attached residence, incorporation of a pavilion, followed by deletion of the pavilion in favor of an open garden with a lesser tasting room while enlarging the olive processing facility.  All of these uses have varying parking and ADA requirements which present their own challenges.

Surveying:  The initial topographic mapping was straightforward, but the construction staking was a challenge due to ongoing construction and landscaping.

Private Driveway:  The major challenge was to accommodate large truck deliveries while meeting the client’s aesthetic requirements and logistics of the olive harvest and processing, managing storm drainage in steep terrain with highly erosive soils, and protecting other assets such as the on-site wastewater disposal fields.

Grading and Drainage:  In addition to siting the olive processing facility, driveway, and wastewater fields, the challenge was to work with the client’s landscaping plans which he personally designed and installed with the aid of his olive farm labor.  Maintaining the distinction between owner built landscaping walls (less than 4 feet) and contractor built retaining walls (greater then 4 feet) presented a challenge. The project was initiated with an approved SUSMP, which was then adapted to the revised project definition. Fortunately in the end, the conversion of the residence and pavilion to open garden balanced the loss of other permeable areas to pavement.

Utilities:   One of the most unusual aspects of this project for a civil firm was layout of the olive processing equipment line and associated wastewater collection system. We were tasked with translating the manufacturer’s installation manual (provided to us in Italian with minimal English) to design all the equipment pads, building penetrations for olive and solid waste conveyors, and wastewater collection lines.

Olives are delivered under an exterior canopy, and dumped by forklift into a receiving hopper to be conveyed to the interior de-leafer/stemmer. At the end of the process the olive pomace solids are delivered by under floor auger to an exterior conveyor for delivery to the composting operation. This involved coordination with the manufacturer, a succession of building designers, and the site superintendent whom the client eventually retained. Electrical and mechanical consultants were retained late in the design process only after Lescure Engineers had arranged the process line. The processing area was required to have level concrete pads for heavy equipment, and sloping floors for sanitation and drainage, all while maintaining paths for fork lifts, to be compatible with an ADA compliant “Path of Accessibility” across the reach of the processing area and warehouse.

Fire Protection Water System:   Our only challenge here was to specify a storage tank suitable to meet the volume requirements, after the niche in the major retaining wall had been constructed to site it.

Wastewater Systems:   The initial project was sufficiently complex with both domestic and process wastes (both liquid and solid) to be managed on a site with very limited depth of suitable soil. Shifting project descriptions, combined with the regulators’ unfamiliarity with olive process wastes provided further challenges. Management of the liquid wastes was not overly complex given the depth and breadth of Lescure Engineers experience in on-site systems on challenging sites. In preparing the Report of Waste Discharge we had to perform significant research and analysis to demonstrate that nitrate loading would be within limits as olives are high in protein and nitrate content. This exercise involved application of both the process wastewater and the composted solids to the olive orchards.

Location:  3387 Canfield Road, Sebastopol

Client:  Goldridge Organic Farms

Mr. Brooke Hazen, Owner,  info@oliveleafecohome.com

Permitting Agency:  County of Sonoma Permit & Resource Management Department

Project Architect:   Claudia Cleaver, AIA, Morse & Cleaver Architects

Civil Engineer:  Lescure Engineers, Inc., Peter J. Lescure, PE and Olga I. Shevchenko, PE

Other Consultants – Guttman & Blavoet, Mechanical Engineering;  Jim Glomb Consulting, Geotechnical Engineering, Axcel Fire Systems, Inc., JR Excavating, General Engineering Construction, CVM Construction, General Contractor


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