Government for the campaign donors: Cutting out neighbors

Cutting out neighbors 

EDITOR: In their 2016 ordinance, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors promised that cannabis growing “would not be detrimental to health, safety, welfare or materially injurious to properties or improvements in the vicinity.” This is being sidelined in the new draft ordinance. Gone will be any ability for neighbors to have input.

The cannabis industry successfully lobbied for a much easier permitting process. In the draft ordinance, cannabis permitting will be directed by the ag commissioner instead of a more rigorous process with Permit Sonoma. Sixty-five thousand acres will be open to cannabis growing, eclipsing wine grapes at 60,000 acres.

Little is being done to check environmental impacts. Water usage, estimated to be at least seven times that of the wine industry, isn’t being addressed. Nothing is being done to ensure that smells caused by growing the plants will be monitored and mitigated. Grows are allowed a mere 300 feet from neighboring structures.

If this ordinance goes into effect in its current iteration, the rural character that we love in Sonoma County will vanish. Let the Board of Supervisors know that this is not the correct direction for Sonoma County.

CHRIS S.  Sebastopol

And an article by Guy Kovner which spends an inordinate amount of time trying to dismiss the 65,712 acre figure that could support outdoor and hoop house cannabis. Here is the paragraph from page 16 of the Draft Cannabis Ordinance:

Currently approximately  65,753  acres of the County are zoned for Agricultural uses. The updated Ordinance would affect a portion of County lands zoned for Agricultural uses. The existing Ordinance requires a …
… factors that would further limit cannabis cultivation, such as the County prohibition on cultivation where slopes exceed 15 percent, required setbacks from neighboring uses, and riparian corridor setbacks.