Friends of Graton: FOG UPDATE #16


We received this email recently from Supervisor Hopkins regarding the BOS hearing on 12/11, where the West County and Joe Rodota trails were designated as parks. The conditions where the 1000′ setback to parks could be lessened are outlined below. Even though each application will be decided on a case-by-case basis, all three of these criteria must be met, and that would be a very high bar for an applicant. We are feeling hopeful that the setbacks will be difficult to reduce and that the two trails will enjoy the protections of a 1000′ setback. In the text below, mixed light cultivation = greenhouses.

Anna Ransome for Friends of Graton (FOG)

Thank you for your correspondence with our office concerning the issue regarding setbacks from trails managed by the Regional Parks Department.  I appreciate the time that you took to express your concern, and want to update you on the Board’s actions.

The Cannabis Land Use Ordinance requires that outdoor and mixed light cultivation operations be setback at least 1,000 ft. from public parks. Originally, staff had interpreted this setback to be only from federal recreation areas, and state, regional, community, and neighborhood parks. When the Board of Supervisors first discovered that staff’s interpretation did not include Class I bikeways, which are generally owned, operated, or managed by the County’s Regional Parks Department and used similarly as other types of parks by the community, the Board directed staff to align the County’s interpretation with the Board’s intent. On December 11, the Board adopted a resolution to resolve the ambiguity in the ordinance language and officially clarify its legislative intent to create a setback from all of these different parks to protect sensitive populations, environmental resources, and the public’s use and enjoyment of such environmental resources.

The Board has clarified that all outdoor and mixed-light cannabis cultivation operations must be setback at least 1,000 feet from all parks including existing Class I bikeways, such as the Joe Rodota Trail and the West County Trail, unless a use permit is obtained. To qualify for a reduced setback from a public park, any current or future applicant must design their project or amend it to show that an “equivalent separation exists due to topography, vegetation or slope, that no offsite impacts will occur, and that the cannabis operation is not accessible or visible from the park.” These determinations will be made by the Board of Zoning Adjustments on a case-by-case basis and be dependent on the specifics of the proposed project and its surrounding environment.


My apologies if you receive duplicates of this message.  We had such a large volume of correspondence on this issue, and many of our constituents wrote more than once!


Best regards, 

Lynda Hopkins

Fifth District Supervisor

575 Administration Dr 100A

Santa Rosa, CA  95403