Graton Project and next actions from neighbors

Neighborhood groups are centralizing their efforts to get sensible commercial cannabis regulations in Sonoma County where the supervisors have thrown open the doors to this industry and without state compliance and firm regulations that spell out the boundaries.  Association of bay Area Governments has published ordinances online. See:  for those ordinances in comparison and also Google Earth map showing where they are. Several days ago Permit Sonoma released the applications which was 66 pages long. You can get those online at Permit Sonoma.

If you are concerned the following action and notice is from Friends of Atascadero Wetlands (FAW).

The applicants, Loud Enterprises, canceled the meet-and-greet that they had scheduled for last Saturday, 10/20, by posting a note on their gate off the trail. We were able to inform hundreds of trail walkers/bikers/neighbors instead and gathered almost 200 signatures on a petition opposing this project. Steve Rosen, the planner, commented that he had received more than 100 comments on this application alone, and that was several days ago.

Thanks for all the emails and letters so far – to the planner and to our supervisor. Don’t stop now. We have momentum.

If you haven’t already written your emails to Steve Rosen and copied Supervisor Hopkins, scroll down for ACTION #1.

If you have completed Action #1, we have a new action below:

ACTION #2 to address the broader issue of cannabis regulations as regards to setbacks and commercial projects. Please use your own words and thoughts.

  • Insist that all the Regional Parks trails, are in effect, parks, and that the mandatory 1000′ setbacks to parks in the cannabis ordinance should be amended to include these trails. Trails are just as sensitive a use as parks. They are areas where children are present in great numbers.
  • Question the 600′ setbacks to indoor grows applying to schools K-12 only, instead of adding day care centers and pre-schools. Was this a special concession for a particular situation? Otherwise, it’s arbitrary to conclude that K-12 is any different, since all these uses are places where children are present and concentrated
  •  Or urge a moratorium for all new commercial cannabis operations on agriculturally zoned properties for 3-5 years. Other areas have done this, either because of problems that developed or anticipation of these problems. The County should investigate limiting cannabis to more appropriate zoning, such as industrial and manufacturing where the security requirements and othe r negative impacts of cannabis are more appropriate.

    We are not urging a ban on all cannabis production. 

  • Urge a ban on commercial grows. Other areas have done this, either because of problems that developed or anticipation of these problems.

The same objections that one would have to this project apply to most cannabis projects, so state them, but the real problem is commercial grows. Urge these planners to ban commercial grows and processing in Sonoma County, as some other states and counties have done.

Copy and paste links below if they won’t work with your email program.

Address your email to
and CC:

, if you have not already done this.

Send an email to the planner, Steve Rosen and cc: Lynda Hopkins ( to make comments on the plans that we sent previously. Anything that you bring up MUST be addressed through this process. Ask questions if you don’t know the answer. Pick your concerns from the list below. Please use your own words and don’t put concerns in the same order. Form letters are not nearly as effective. No time to do this? Send a short email that you object to the project based on health and safety, scale, closeness to the trail and other incompatible aspects. Reference UPC18-0044/2595 Railroad Street, Graton.

  • Proximity to the West County Trail and schools in Graton. Trails ARE parks and require the same setbacks.

  • Incompatibility with rural character of adjacent neighborhoods.

  • Negative effect of property values throughout the neighborhoods.

  • Security and safety risks to neighbors from cannabis associated crime.

  • Narrowness and safety issues with Railroad St, which parallels the trail and is often used as a trail bypass.

  • Safety issues with inadequate turnouts for emergency vehicles on Railroad St.

  • Night lighting and it’s effects on wildlife and your ability to witness the night skies.

  • Proximity to designated wetlands and Atascadero Creek, both recognized in the General Plan as important natural resources.

  • Increased flooding from impermeable surfaces, such as roofs, concrete and asphalt. The property floods routinely.

  • Question the ability of the property to perk. No septic plans are provided. The County will not allow porta-potties, even temporarily.

  • Increased traffic in Graton, where the trail users are detoured around the winery building on narrow, congested Bowen St.

  • Noise from greenhouse fans, employees, traffic. Prevailing winds from he SW will blow any objectionable noise into neighborhoods.

  • Size of operation seems to violate the allowable acreage

  • Disposal of wastewater

  • Ugliness of this type of commercial operation in an especially beautiful rural and natural setting

  • Odors. Particulates (called terpines) have a known effect on respiratory health. Prevailing winds from the SW will blow any objectionable odors into neighborhoods.

This is not a complete list. Add anything of concern. The applicants plans mention using recycled winery wastewater, that they have access to, and cleaning it up to potable water. That requires studies to determine if it would work. Just saying they will do that, doesn’t assure that they won’t eventually drill a well.

Ask questions if you are unsure about any of the aspects of their project.

Anna Ransome

Friends of Atascadero Wetlands