UKIAH, 4/30/2017 — With the medical cannabis cultivation ordinance due to go live on May 4, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to address several other cannabis-related matters at its meeting on Tuesday, May 2. The first is a presentation and public workshop on the proposed structure of Chapter 6.36 of the Mendocino County Code, which would govern cannabis business facilities. Another cannabis matter, in the consent calendar, is the final adoption of Chapter 9.30. If adopted, this regulation would begin governing recreational pot in early June. Planning and Building Services and the Department of Agriculture are also asking the board’s approval to purchase several vehicles to use in administering the county’s new cannabis program.
The sheriff’s office is requesting $65,540 for unspecified SWAT purchases.
In non-cannabis-related matters, First Five Mendocino and Redwood Children’s Services are asking for funds to step in and take over some of the workload from Family and Children’s Services.
Water is on the agenda, in the form of an agreement for the county to join a number of other entities in the Russian River watershed to fund a United States Geological Survey study and model of interactions between groundwater and surface water.
The proposed language of Chapter 6.36 lays out the process of applying for a county cannabis business license, and applicants will also need additional approval from the state when California begins issuing such licenses. The proposal includes the requirement of a Livescan inquiry into the criminal history of applicants for the licenses. If the would-be applicant is shown to have a history of non-cannabis-related felonies, that person would be disqualified, though cannabis felonies that involve sales to minors would also be a disqualifying factor.
Chapter 9.30, which would regulate recreational cannabis, is likely to be formally adopted on Tuesday. Under this ordinance, recreational cultivators could grow up to six plants within 100 square feet, without a permit, for personal use. Outdoor growing of recreational plants would only be allowed on parcels ten acres or larger. Renters would be required to grow in garages or outbuildings, to prevent rentable space from being used for gardening purposes, while property owners would be allowed to grow pot wherever they liked in their own homes. Chapter 9.31, which limits the plant count to 25 plants, will still be in effect in areas of the county that are under the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission. The board gave direction to staff in March of last year to start the process of finding a consultant to help develop a coastal cannabis cultivation ordinance, but as of mid April of this year, that process had not yet begun.
To carry out the duties of administering the cannabis program, the board is asked to approve the purchase of four four-wheel drive pickup trucks from Thurston Toyota in Ukiah, three for the Department of Agriculture, and one for the Department of Planning and Building Services. The price of each truck is $30,000.
Family and Children’s Services
At the last board meeting, researchers from UC Davis presented findings from a study of the county’s Family and Children’s Services. One of the conclusions was that county social workers are severely overloaded. Contracts with two local non-profit organizations to take child abuse referrals are in the consent calendar for Tuesday’s meeting.
The contract with Redwood Community Services specifies that the agency will serve 15 families at a time, or 120 families per year, for up to six months each. The conditions include at least two face to face visits per month with at-risk families, mainly in Willits, Laytonville, and Covelo. The contract also states that RCS would serve families in the Ukiah area if needed. The payment is $292,246 for May 2017 through June 2018.
There is a similar contract with First Five Mendocino in the consent calendar. This agency will serve up to 50 families per year in the greater Ukiah area, plus Hopland and Anderson Valley, at a cost of $162,200 from May 2017 through June 2018. Each of the two agencies is authorized the one-time purchase of a vehicle, up to $25,000, to be approved by Family and Children’s Services, which is a department of the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency.
The county is also gearing up to meet the demands of California’s sustainable groundwater management act (SGMA) of 2014, by joining several other organizations to pay for a USGS study and model of how groundwater and surface water interact in the Russian River watershed. This is a four-year study that began in October of 2016 and is scheduled to continue until October of 2020. SGMA requires a thorough understanding of each groundwater basin, which is supposed to lead to sustainable management practices.
In addition to Mendocino County, participants in the study are the Sonoma County Water Agency, which has water rights to much of the water in Lake Mendocino, the City of Ukiah, Russian River Flood Control, and the Upper Russian River Water Agency. The county’s share of the $1,633,700 bill is $100,000.
In a separate item, the board is likely to approve a letter to Governor Jerry Brown supporting the consolidation of five county water districts in the Ukiah Valley. They are Calpella, Millview, Redwood Valley, Willow and Russian River Flood Control. The letter states the belief that, though the water districts are part of the joint powers authority of the Upper Russian River Water Agency, full consolidation would provide economies of scale to ratepayers.
Two former jail inmates have filed claims against the county, which is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit but not a guarantee of further legal action. Marion Phillips claims that when she was transferred from the Mendocino County jail to Solano in January of this year, her clothing was lost. She is asking for $200 to replace her clothing. Another former inmate, James Harnett, recently filed a claim about jail personnel failing to return his phone to him when he was released in March of this year. He requested $150 to replace the phone.
Brian Hurt, the owner of Grist Creek Aggregate, also filed a claim against the county, asking for $10,000 in damages as a result of county employees interfering with his enjoyment of his rights under the United States and California Constitutions.
April 30, 2017 Sarah Reith, [email protected]