MENDOCINO Co., 9/13/21 — This Tuesday at their regularly scheduled meeting the Board of Supervisors will be hosting Mendocino County’s first major public hearing in the 2021 redistricting process, which will reshape district boundaries for county supervisors, state legislators and congressional representatives based on data from the 2020 Decennial Census. Elsewhere on the agenda they’ll also consider passing a resolution opposing plans for a “coal train” on the North Coast, and altering the county’s commercial cannabis activity land use development ordinance based on a recent petition.
This hearing is listed as “Public Hearing #1” on the redistricting commission’s timeline, and it will be one of the first opportunities for local voters and the board to hear from one another about where we’re at in the process. Five commissioners and an alternate were appointed last month. So far they’ve held two virtual public meetings, largely to familiarize the commissioners with Brown Act regulations and the mapping platform which will be used to redraw district boundaries.
The county plans to finalize the new boundaries with an ordinance in mid-December, so interested parties have just a few months to get involved. The commission is inviting members of the public to submit their own maps and ideas for “communities of interest,” which are populated areas with definable geographical boundaries and shared interests that should be considered, using this online form.
The supervisors will also be deciding what to do with the recent referendum seeking to repeal the county’s recent commercial cannabis activity land use development ordinance now that the county has verified more than 4,100 petition signatures submitted by organizers . The petition, referred to by organizers as the “Save Our Water Wildlife and Way of Life” referendum, seeks to overturn the most recent cannabis land permitting changes adopted earlier in the year, which allow for a significantly expanded amount percentage of specific parcels to be permitted for commercial cannabis use.
Elected officials have two options; they can adopt the ordinance language themselves at Tuesday’s meeting or put the matter on an upcoming ballot, either in the regularly scheduled June, 2022 primary election, or sooner. This agenda item has generated more than 50 pieces of written correspondence from the public, and will likely include a lengthy public comment segment, as did the initial discussions concerning changes to the commercial cultivation permitting program in the spring.
This week’s consent calendar, which is expected to pass without controversy, also includes a resolution formally opposing plans to ship coal via railcar along the North Coast Railroad Authority’s long abandoned right-of-way passing through Mendocino County on the way from the North Bay to Eureka, as reported by the Lost Coast Outpost.