Cutting neighbors out
EDITOR: There is a reason that of 58 California counties only 15 allow outdoor commercial cannabis. Impacts on neighborhoods are just too severe to offset with any mitigations.
Sonoma County started out with a use permit process, as is required by the California Environmental Quality Act, but the county is now attempting to go to a ministerial process to accommodate cannabis industry demands.
This is applying a cookie-cutter approach to land use. Our county is too diverse to assume all parcels are so much alike that you can apply the same imaginary check box solution to each one. Other counties have tried this scheme but have had to return to use permits after years of wasted time and lawsuits.
This attempt to bypass CEQA will not succeed, but county officials surge blindly ahead. Meanwhile the failed penalty relief program allows those who broke the law and avoided taxes for years to operate and even expand without consequences.
The commercial cannabis rollout is a failure and the only way forward is to abandon the Feb. 16 draft ordinance and go back to amending the previous ordinance so that the scuttled neighborhood compatibility phase will finally be fulfilled.