Neighbors appeal proposed cannabis cultivation site that could be 'largest in the world'

Posted at 11:36 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 02:42:06-04

People are asking the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission to take another look at a nearly 40 acre cannabis cultivation site near Buellton.

It's one that opponents say could be the largest in the world.

County planning leaders approved a land use permit in July, but neighbors quickly appeal that decision.

“Our concern is that there isn't enough information,” said Blair Pence, who filed the appeal.

People are asking for more answers when it comes to a proposed cannabis cultivation site off Highway 246 just outside Buellton city limits.

Blair Pence of Pence Vineyards operates his business adjacent to the proposed 42.5 acre Santa Rita AG Inc. cannabis site.

“It’s literally your next-door neighbor,” said Pence.

Most of the area would be used to grow marijuana plants, those nearby say different growing techniques could harm other crops.

It's why Pence says weed and wine don't mix.

“Some of the sprays we use for mildew control are on a list of not permitted items that could show up there,” said Pence.

Many also brought up concerns for screening and security as well as impact to traffic.

Neighbors asking the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission Thursday to review the Programmatic Environmental Impact Report.

“[Planning commission members] need to understand what environmental issues were analyzed and what those impacts were and what the mitigation measures were suggested and incorporated into the ordinance,” said Lisa Plowman, the Santa Barbara County director of planning and development.

Plowman says establishing a clearer scope for EIR's will help the planning commission better review future land use permits.

“It’s pretty wide open for different types of agricultural uses, we'll expect to see more of these types of applications as they come in,” said Plowman.

After hours of discussion, the Santa Barbara Planning Commission postponed a decision.

KSBY reached out to the applicants of the cannabis site but they declined our request for an interview.

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission will revisit this application and it's appeal September 13th.