County FAIL (SC Gazette)

County FAIL (SC Gazette)

In County documents and staff reports, one finds somewhat reasonable sentences like:

Setbacks are often used to ensure neighborhood compatibility and mitigate impacts of a particular land use such as odor, noise, or light. Setbacks are effective ways to mitigate these impacts as they focus on site design elements rather than regulating ongoing behaviors.

Yet, parts of the County’s Final Cannabis Ordinance are so far out of sync with the above that it beggars belief:

1. The County considers the fumes from a 43,560 sq ft marijuana grow to be no more noxious to downwind homes 300 feet away than the fumes from a 100 sq ft grow. Where are the requirements for longer setbacks for larger grows?

Three hundred feet from an acre marijuana grow, or from anything within smelling distance, to a family room is not a mitigating setback: it’s a freebie to growers. County fail!

2. Then the County fails to protect those RR residents who live on DA borders and in the many clusters of RR neighborhoods the County embedded in DA zones. These residents have NO property setback protection from the nearly as noxious indoor DA grows. No setback is mitigation? Seriously? County fail, again.

3. And where are the protective graduated buffers in the form of limits on the numbers and sizes of outdoor DA grows on RR borders and on grows surrounding the County-embedded RR areas in DA zones? Again, County fail.

4. Now we learn that the Planning Commission wants to allow commercial marijuana grows in RR and AR Zones. Total County fail!

It’s as if the County is determined to pound square pegs into round holes to accommodate growers while unwilling residents are the pegs being pounded on.

The County needs to recognize two realities: Sonoma County is no longer a county of wide-open spaces, and it is ongoing behaviors from nearby properties and not some “site design elements” that can make neighborhood life miserable. That’s one of the reasons I’m not returning to the county after living in it off and on since 1943.

Is the County really that willing to invite lawsuits over a grower-friendly/resident-hostile marijuana ordinance?

R. T. Guthrie, Lakeport

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