Regulatory Update

On April 22, 2020, the Planning Commission considered a series of proposed changes to the County's cannabis regulations.  The stated purpose of these amendments is to streamline the planning permit process that is required prior to issuance of local licenses by the Cannabis Licensing Office.  Experience over the past few years has shown that compliance with the numerous requirements contained in the regulations, and as interpreted by the various reviewing agencies, is extremely difficult, time consuming and expensive.  The result has been that very few permits and licenses have been issued.

In short, the proposed amendments accomplish the following:

       -  Identify cultivation as an agricultural activity on properties zoned Commercial Agriculture (CA).  This would do away

           with the need for obtaining a Use Permit to cultivate on CA parcels.  Building Permits would still be required in cases

           where improvements to the property are needed (building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical).

       -  Removing a requirement that, in  order to obtain a permit for cultivation on properties zoned Residential Agriculture

          (RA), Special Use (SU) or Timber Production (TP), proof must be submitted to show that cultivation has been occurring on

          the property prior to 2013.

      -  Reduce the level of permit processing for a variety of cannabis operations.

      -  Decrease the minimum parcel size for the allowance of cottage gardens (defined as being less than 500 square feet in

          size.

The Planning Commission voted to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt the proposed amendments, with the exception of the decrease in minimum parcel sizes for establishing a cottage garden.  The Commission members were concerned about the potential impact to neighbors, mainly related to odor, that could result.

It should be noted that, while eliminating the need for a Use Permit for cultivation on CA properties is potentially very beneficial, we are concerned that requirements emanating from the various reviewing agencies commenting on Building Permits could continue to be burdensome to the applicant.

The Board of Supervisors will be holding a public hearing on the proposed changes and Planning Commission recommendations on June 16, 2020

Swift Consulting Services

500 Chestnut St., Ste. 100

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

(831) 459-9992

© 2017 by Swift Consulting Services, Inc.