Parks Sales Tax? – Why would the Regional Parks Department want to reduce setbacks… – To parks????

Parks Sales Tax? – Why would the Regional Parks Department want to reduce setbacks… – To parks????

Dear Supervisor Gorin,

I has just come to my attention that the Regional Parks Department is now supporting reducing the setbacks for cannabis grows to 1000 ft from the grow site, not the current 1000 ft from the parcel boundary to the park.  I urge you not to support this proposed revision, which would have huge negative effects on our parks and park visitors.  We have rather advocated increasing the setback to 2000 ft.

Parks need this larger buffer zone to maintain their pristine setting, the purity of their riparian watersheds which feed  our major watersheds, and the safety of park visitors.  Hikers frequently wander past the park boundaries in rugged areas, and the likelihood of them encountering a grower with guns and attack dogs (yes, that occurs, despite the law) is very scary.  Often in rugged areas the only access for fire control is via the parcels bordering the park.  As I have previously relayed to you, last October there was a very bad encounter with growers hampering firefighters battling the Hood Mountain fire.

I understand that certain big growers have been strongly lobbying the Board of Supervisors to reduce this setback to accommodate their desires – and pocketbooks.  The growers are by far the great minority of residents in Sonoma County.  The taxes paid by the other 99% of non-growing residents are collectively much greater than the tax revenue to be obtained from cannabis, much if not all of which would need to be used for code and law enforcement.  We are counting on you, our elected officials, to prioritize the needs, property, wellbeing and safety of us, the residents of Sonoma County

I know you have been an advocate of our parks, many of which are here in District 1, and are in favor of a sales tax hike to further support the parks.  Normally it would have been a no-brainer for many of us to support that tax hike, yet if the county approves reducing the park setbacks, disregarding the good of the parks and community who enjoy those parks in favor of a few influential growers, this tax hike would no longer be something we would vote for.

Thank you for reading this letter and factoring it into your decision for the upcoming vote on August 7.


Affected SOSN Member

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