Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Round Valley Resident Concerned Cannabis Cultivation Expansion Under Phase III Will Lead to Dry Wells


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Map of the Covelo Fire District [Generated by Mendocino County Planning and Building Services]

An open letter to the Board of Supervisors on 10% expansion

Using parcel data from the Planning department, I did a little math on cultivation potential on AG land here in and Round Valley. Please note this is just for AG zoned land that is greater than 10 acres within the Round Valley area. RL calculations would take more tools than I have on hand, but that too would allow for some increased acreage that is not included in the info below. The image attached is a zoning map of the area.

AG Parcels > 10 acres: 226 parcels
Total acreage of AG parcels > 10 acres: 11,183 acres

If the max cultivation permit currently allowable is 10,000 Square Feet, that means there could be a max of 226 permits at that size, which would total 52 acres of cultivation on AG land.

Under the 10% of acreage cultivation allowance on AG land, that would equal 1,118 acres on AG land alone in Round Valley.

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That’s adding a potential of 1,066 additional acres of allowable cultivation on AG land alone in Round Valley!!

The 10% acreage expansion would allow a 2,155% increase of allowable cultivation on AG land in Round valley, or nearly 22 times more than what is currently allowed on AG land.

Do we have enough water for this level of increased cultivation? Our local Round Valley County Water District doesn’t seem to think so and has expressed concerns in a letter sent to the Planning Commission & Board of Supervisors. And if not, does that mean we’re going to allow this expansion for all those who can prove they have water until we’re out of water? It’s clear that people from out of the area are already buying up land for the purpose of land speculation and cannabis cultivation here in the valley.

The Covelo CalFire well is already showing signs that it will soon run dry, as stated during the April 12th BOS meeting on water shortages, and the CalFire Chief expressed concerns that when the well runs dry and no longer has water pressure, the aquifer could subside and water storage capacity could be lost forever, as we’ve seen over the years in other parts of CA.

The Round Valley County Water District has also expressed concern with this high level of development potential the 10% would allow in Round Valley. We are ALL on wells here, we have no municipal water system to help meet the needs of the community when the water table begins to drop below the level of some of our wells, which we are ALREADY seeing happen here.

This expansion is not desired by our community either. The Round Valley Area MAC has held several public meetings with the topic of cannabis cultivation expansion on the agenda and 100% of those who attend the meetings express very strongly that they are against the 10% of acreage expansion, for a vast array of reasons.

Please, listen to our community and take the 10% off the table if you are going to move forward with the Ordinance for phase 3.

Please, slow down and consider expansion more wisely and carefully, for the well being of all the communities within Mendocino County, including those of us in Round Valley.

Jessica Stull-Otto, Round Valley Resident

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  1. The writer is on target. Outside speculators who promote the 10% expansion are gambling that they can make their money before our wells go dry. Their greed will kill the valley. Then they will move on. Who are the big investors who promote this insanity … and where do they live?

    Sandra Mullen
    Round Valley resident

    • The Round Vally Tribe legally owns the Round Valley acquirer. Do they know this? They sure don’t act like they do. Those who sell water to those who haul water to growers are in no legal position to be draining the valley water supply. The Tribe could halt that. Phase 1.2, and 3? All an environmental disaster. Begin measuring the valley floor subsidence. Observe the last of the once heavily forested valley oaks wither and die. This is the immediate future if the environmental blindness does not cease it’s destructive foray through our dying valley’s eco-systems.

  2. Crime has rizen 40% 2 head on wrecks every week , no water . stop an think what is causing this problem. Due to common greed nobody wants to talk about that!

    • Crime: Round Valley barely has a business district. I have resided here for over thirty years. And for 30 years arsonists have burned down half the town. Wanna see what a drug culture looks like? Come to Round Valley. Take the tour through the back streets and back roads. Yes, there is poverty. I too knew poverty as a child. But we were clean, no trash and junk piling up, no rotting burned out autos strewn all over the area. We attended church each Sunday, did our school homework each night, had our chores, and the discipline to know right from wrong. Values were instilled. Lying, cheating, stealing, conniving were not tolerated. Try that nowadays. Most of my friends have moved from here because of the crime and the garbage strewn everywhere you look. I know others are moving, too. The area has deteriorated. And the Board of Supervisors (Haschak exempted) look to be dead set on creating an ever increasing deteriorating situation.

  3. A long time ago I lived in Humboldt Co. and had a well dug. The well needed a permit and it was numbered. I was told if my new well affected my neighbor’s water level I would have to close the new well. What is Mendocino County’s policy?

  4. Just drive to the corner of Biggar and Crawford. Slow down and believe your eyes upon viewing the piece of Heirship property on the southeast corner. Turn around and view both sides. In about two years time a overgrown clean parcel has been turned into an unbelievable pile of wrecked burned out busted automobiles, fifth wheels, appliances, black plastic sheeting, you name it. The crap is piled high and not to be believed. Yeah, I think people squat in there. Hard to fathom. The valley has lots of these eyesores, an affront to any non-druggy’s sensibilities. Water? Yeah, the deteriorating environmental pile of rotting plastic gas cans, autos, pesticides, oil, more plastics, tires, etc are slowly leeching into the water aquifer below. Nothing will be done to change the mess for the better. It just gets worse by the day. I feel sorry for the sane property owners around the valley who live with this practically on their doorsteps. Not only must they put up with the lowlifes and the noise, but gunfire too. This is what a drug culture does to a community.

  5. But what can put a stop to it in round valley/covelo is our reality to care about our town and not sale land to those people. I’m Pretty sure they are well off and not in dier need of money that bad to sale our whole town out.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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