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From the Field: The illegal grow next to us that the County allows to continue without permit

From the Field: The illegal grow next to us that the County allows to continue without permit

After living on our residential property for 30 years we now live next to a cannabis grow situated on 5 acres, 10 acres is required however the grower next to us was Grandfathered in allowing the 5 acre parcel to grow cannabis. We now live 300 FT from a cannabis operation that was awarded a Ministerial permit in 2018 for one year, in 2019 the grower was able to obtain a second year permit. In 2020 The grower’s permit was expiring which required a use permit to grow on the 5 acre parcel. Low and behold on the last possible day to make an application to the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) the grower made an application for the new permit. A hearing has not yet been scheduled, but wait… they were still able to grow TWO cannabis crops in 2020 while they waited for the hearing. Yes that is right, they grew cannabis in 2020 with no permit in hand just an application made to BZA. They could of applied in early in 2019 for the hearing but no, they waited until the last possible day and were still allowed to grow without a cannabis permit in 2020.

Three neighbors have been enduring the cannabis smell now for 4 months for each of the last 3 years. At times during the growing season we have been unable to use our back yards due to the strong cannabis smell. During the hot nights of summer we are no longer able to open our windows due to the cannabis “SKUNK” like smell that fills the houses.

There has been NO PUBLIC hearing for this cannabis operation over the last three years. Our Sonoma County supervisors all stated that our rights would / should be considered when approving cannabis permits. However is a Ministerial Cannabis Permit is applied for there are NO Public hearings, just check all the boxes and a Cannabis permit will be issued….right next to your home.

Every neighbor should be provided due process. Applicants who receive a permit to grow cannabis should only be given permission only after it has been determined that their growing does not jeopardize the “health, safety, peace, comfort or welfare of the neighborhood or the general public” in accordance with Sonoma Count Code (SCC 26-92-070(a)). Remember the saying “Follow the money! ” to see why our Supervisors are allowing the cannabis grows next to residential property, this does not protect the publics health and welfare.

SOSN member in Penngrove