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Santa Barbara County Gathering Public Input on Draft Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

The public comment is open until Aug. 11 for the ordinance, which will regulate local marijuana cultivation and sales

Santa Barbara County held a public meeting in Santa Barbara Wednesday night to solicit public input on its draft cannabis land use ordinance, which will regulate the cultivation and sales of marijuana. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County held a public meeting in Santa Barbara Wednesday night to solicit public input on its draft cannabis land use ordinance, which will regulate the cultivation and sales of marijuana.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara County is gathering public input on its proposed cannabis regulations and the accompanying environmental review process. 

At a Wednesday meeting in Santa Barbara, Planning and Development Department staff called the draft cannabis land use ordinance a “broad” draft to guide the environmental review process.

The county wants to develop local regulations for the growing and selling of non-medical marijuana, which was legalized with the passing of California Proposition 64.  

The draft ordinance was released July 12.

Personal use of cannabis, marijuana manufacturing, retail operation permits, testing facilities, commercial development standards such as lighting, noise, fencing, odor and security measures are noted in the 36-page document.

County staff will edit the proposed ordinance based on public comment and, ultimately, it will go before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. 

Planning staff members are working on cannabis regulations for activities associated with Proposition 64, the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, and initiated the environmental review process in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Only adults 21 years or older can grow and use cannabis for personal use within a private home, according to text from the county's draft document. Growing marijuana plants for personal use is limited to six plants per private residence and outdoor cultivation must be completely hidden from public view, according to the report.

“Proposition 64 is the law of the land, so these things are going to happen and need to happen somewhere,” one speaker said.

At Wednesday's meeting, some residents from the Carpinteria Valley raised concern about the strong plant odor and commercial development standards for lighting.

The draft ordinance states commercial cannabis cultivation lighting will be shielded to prevent the glow from trespassing into the sky or glare onto areas other than the project site.

“Greenhouses using artificial light will be shielded between sunset and sunrise,” the ordinance says. 

The report also suggests designating an individual — available 24-hours a day and seven days a week — responsible for responding to odor complaints. 

Some residents raised concerns about neighborhood safety and the proposed 600-foot buffer zone barring marijuana businesses near schools, day cares and youth centers.

Supporters of marijuana cultivation and retail sale asked the county to mandate security standards, and some recommended surveillance cameras and constant monitoring at every business.

Security measures outlined in the draft require on-site security cameras and storing cannabis products in a secured and locked room.

More than 60 people filled the Board Hearing Room on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building in Santa Barbara for the meeting. 

Planning and Development staff in attendance included Project Planner Jessica Metzger, Supervising Planner Mindy Fogg and Deputy Director Dan Klemann.

Another public hearing on the proposed ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the hearing room of the Betteravia Government Center, 511 E. Lakeside Parkway in Santa Maria.

The public comment period ends at 5 p.m. Aug. 11, and written comments can be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to Jessica Metzger, program manager, at 123 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

Click here to read the Santa Barbara County Land Use and Development Code Draft Cannabis Land Use Ordinance. 

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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