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Santa Barbara County supervisors consider cannabis cultivation restrictions

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 23:13:24-04

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors took steps Tuesday toward updating their stance on the cannabis industry – everything from land use to odor prevention was on the agenda.

Nearly 200 people from across the county came to speak their minds in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

“Please help us. We are already too dense and the proximity when it wasn’t checked got too close to our schools, they’re close to our residential areas and we need your help,” said Carpinteria Valley resident Sandra Lyle.

“It’s really nice to see that so many people came out in support of us. I think we are really introducing a new group of people to legal cannabis and to what it can do for communities beyond just the medicine we produce but also the economic benefit,” said cannabis farmer Sara Rotman.

But several city leaders, including the mayors of Goleta and Lompoc and Solvang’s city manager, came to share their concerns about the growing industry.

“At our city council meeting (Monday) night, Solvang City Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution requesting the board take action to prohibit cannabis cultivation around our borders and in the Santa Ynez Valley.”

Supervisors spent much of the afternoon updating the county’s land use ordinance to ban cannabis grows on Ag 1 properties 20 acres or less in size and require a conditional use permit for those Ag 1 properties greater than 20 acres in size.

“The conditional use permit means that’s a decision by the planning commission and not a staff-level decision so it increased the permit requirements and drove that up to a higher decision-maker,” explained Lisa Plowman, Director of Planning and Development for Santa Barbara County.

While this was the least restrictive option, the county says this move will take several cannabis business applicants out of the running

Supervisors also voted to notify more people in an area when a cannabis business or grow is opening up shop.

By 5:30 p.m., supervisors were still taking public comment on potential updates to regulations, including five different amendments ranging from odor to putting a cap on the amount of cultivation.

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino took time during Tuesday’s meeting to address accusations against him in a Los Angeles Times article that suggested growers had easy access to him as they were first creating regulations in the county. Lavagnino said Tuesday he offered industry leaders the same courtesy he does everyone else.