MENDOCINO Co., 10/13/20 — On Tuesday evening, tonight, the Fort Bragg City Council will consider how to create new regulations for growing cannabis to accompany its existing rules that govern both retail dispensaries and processing/manufacturing of cannabis products.
The Oct. 13 council meeting will be held by Zoom at 6 p.m.
A council subcommittee has presented a plan that suggests the council consider allowing cannabis cultivation in all inland industrial parcels zoned industrial, rather than just those north of Pudding Creek, as had been the original plan.
The council began working on plans for cannabis cultivation regulation in January 2018. In June 2019, the council gave direction to staff to develop an ordinance to allow and regulate commercial cannabis growing.
“Several factors delayed said ordinance, including the withdrawal of a development application for a proposed commercial cannabis cultivation project (Root One Botanicals), staffing changes in City Hall, and the challenges involved with the associated environmental document, pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA),” the staff report for Tuesday night’s meeting states. Root One Botanicals launched the first cannabis processing facility in Fort Bragg, located in the industrial area on the north end of Franklin Street. Two cannabis retail dispensaries have been launched this fall in Fort Bragg.
The plan under consideration sets a target date of April 2021 for implementation. The plan, as suggested by the Community Development Committee, suggests that no sales tax, or additional taxation specifically for cannabis, be collected. “Standard fees, as identified by the City’s Fee Schedule, in addition to fees associated with building permits as determined by Mendocino County will apply,” the report states.
The staff report states it would be appropriate to be found exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
“Staff has determined that environmental review should be conducted on a project-by-project basis to accurately assess the environmental impacts of each proposal. The adoption of the proposed ordinance does not allow construction of any building or structure or establishment of a new land use, but sets forth the regulations that shall be followed if and when a building, structure or land use is proposed to be constructed or a site is proposed to be developed,” the staff report states.
Water is identified as the key environmental issue created by cannabis cultivation in the report.
“Cannabis cultivation, similar to other agricultural land uses, is a high-water user and therefore may have individual or cumulative impacts on the City’s water supply. The individual and cumulative impacts on the City’s water supply will in part depend on whether well water is available for cultivation uses.
The availability, quantity and quality of well water is unique to every property and therefore, are appropriate for a site-specific evaluation. In order to address the specific impacts of cannabis cultivation in the City, staff is proposing that a water supply assessment be required as part of the use permit application submission to ensure the potential impacts to water supply are adequately addressed,” the report states.
Staff is suggesting that a request for proposals be circulated so that a private contractor can prepare the ordinance for the cannabis cultivation.