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In what amounts to a bait and switch, Supervisors Haschak and Williams recommend opening up every neighborhood to dramatically expanded cannabis cultivation.
On Monday January 25, in line with previous direction, the Board will consider a proposed land use based permitting system for cannabis cultivation.
Unfortunately, Supervisor Williams and Haschak are taking the opportunity to overturn previous Board direction and eliminate every meaningful protection for neighborhoods.
If this passes in it’s current form it will throw every residential neighborhood under the bus by allowing 12 outdoor plants without setbacks.
The original version posted with the agenda (the “bait”) kept the current exemptions and setbacks in place. These restrictions were hammered out over the last 10+ years and were intended to allow for the legal cultivation of cannabis without tearing neighborhoods apart.
The “Final Draft” (the “switch”) was posted last night and eviscerated the restrictions in the exemptions and threw out the setbacks, substantially eliminating protections for residential neighborhoods.
In place of 100 square feet grown indoors with setbacks from property lines and residences, anyone who can claim 2 exemptions will now be able to grow 12 plants of any size (some “plants” exceed 15′ in height and 150 square feet of canopy) outdoors right under someone’s bedroom window.
It’s baffling to me why Supervisors Williams and Haschak are proposing to throw out these carefully crafted neighborhood protections and open the door to renewed neighborhood conflict.
I was initially very impressed by how faithfully the proposed ordinance follows Board direction to craft a land use based permit system that allows for expansion as well as permits in Rangeland, subject to a land use permit.
I know the issues of expansion and new permits in Rangeland are controversial but that is where the discussion should take place.
Without Board direction Supervisors Williams and Haschak have opened up issues that have been debated and decided multiple times with the same result every time.
I’m concerned that this backdoor attempt to undermine existing neighborhood protections will distract from and possibly jeopardize the need to enact critical reforms needed to put the industry on a sustainable footing in Mendocino County.
This ploy may succeed but at the cost of residential quality of life and a sustainable cannabis industry.