UKIAH, 7/23/23 — The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing this Tuesday regarding a proposed zoning change that would prohibit commercial cannabis cultivation on over 440 acres of land zoned for agriculture in Redwood Valley. Most of the 207 properties in question are currently zoned Rural Residential, where growing is already prohibited on lots of five acres or less, but staff documents indicate the proposed zoning change is an effort to “future-proof” against expanded cultivation in the area.
Tuesday’s hearing is the culmination of a lengthy process involving the planning commission that generated roughly 235 pages of written comment from the public — much of which stands in opposition to the proposed prohibition district. But a number of neighbors have complained about odors from cannabis grows, concerns about crime, and a grow’s impact on the neighborhood’s character.
“Allowing a commercial cannabis site within this rural setting will drastically change the area and the rural atmosphere,” Kathy Gilley said in a May 18 letter to the planning commission. “It is true the land in question is zoned agricultural but a commercial cannabis grow cannot be compared to a vineyard.”
According to Michael Katz, executive director of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, the zoning change in question would displace two licensed cannabis grows in the proposed “prohibition district,” as well as a third operation currently in the permitting process.
“Ordinances do not impact the people who are choosing not to follow them, so if there are concerns around unregulated cultivation, those are not going to be addressed with a prohibition zone,” Katz said Sunday. “If we have business people operating in an exemplary way, legally, and they’re willing to contribute to this community — we should be begging them to stay. We need more businesses to decide to invest in this community.”
Katz urged readers to visit www.NoCPzones.com, where proponents are circulating a petition opposing the establishment of a cannabis prohibition zone in Redwood Valley.
The proposal to create a prohibition district is enabled by what has been called the “opt-out zone” portion of the county’s cultivation ordinance, which allows residents of specific geographic areas to petition the board to prohibit licensed cultivation regardless of whether it is allowed under the general ordinance.
This week’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday — but it’s not clear what time the Redwood Valley prohibition zone will be discussed. Interested parties can watch online at https://www.youtube.com/mendocinocountyvideo. Public comments can be emailed to [email protected] or called in at 707-463-4221.