The sanctuary is known locally for holding meditation classes and has at least 10 permanent residents who live and work at both locations, according to spokeswoman Elena Anderson.
The smaller 53-acre parcel was originally part of a 58-acre parcel, which included the well, and was split in 1964 by the original owner. The split created a 5-acre parcel, which included the well and was purchased by Isabella Farms in 2012.
An easement established in 1964 created a 10-foot-wide path to allow Sunburst to access the well, which is fed by nearby Nojoqui Creek.
Sunburst Farm alleges that defendants started blocking access in January 2020, including for workers, and also posted restrictions, such as demanding 24-hours advance notice, according to Sunburst Farm attorney Geoff Willis.
In addition, tests indicated that the defendants diverted a “significant” amount of water over the course of six months, the lawsuit states.
“Given that the plaintiff’s property is used for agriculture, the well and its continual function is of utmost importance to the plaintiff,” according to the lawsuit. “It is the primary agricultural well for [Sunburst] and its agricultural operations cannot survive without that well being monitored regularly.”
Isabella Farms and Rodriguez could not be reached for comment. Sierra Botanicals owner Justin El-Diwany declined to comment for the story.
According to a letter written to Willis on July 16, Jack Collison, attorney for Isabella Farms, considered the problem resolved after Isabella Farms complied with Sunburst’s demands and removed the physical barriers “at a large expense.”