Buellton council asks county to step up cannabis regulation game

Buellton council asks county to step up cannabis regulation game


Buellton City Council members Thursday unanimously requested the Santa Barbara County board of supervisors step up its game in regulating cannabis cultivation in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Voting 5-0, the council passed a resolution requesting the county “take action immediately” to address perceived public health, safety and welfare, economic and tourism impacts of growing the crop near the City of Buellton.

The resolution called for the county to include “appropriate levels of permitting and conditioning to ensure adequate odor control, traffic mitigation, minimizing of light impacts, drainage and water quality impacts, visual impacts, buffering of cultivation from residential uses and urbanized areas, and compatibility with nearby uses, both agricultural and non-agricultural.”

It also committed Buellton staff to work with the county to “help craft amendments to the county’s cannabis regulations to address the aforementioned unintended consequences.”

City Manager Scott Wolfe said Buellton recommendations may include wider buffer areas between cannabis areas and city limits, increased odor control regulation and other considerations including addressing the visual impact of hoop houses and minimizing light sources at night.

“The biggest concern I get from the residents is the odor. It comes down the riverbed. It comes down 246. And we have a lot of not just residents but a lot of parents with small children and this is affecting their quality of life,” said Mayor Holly Sierra.

In other action, the council voted 4-0 to move ahead with the estimated $1.5 million to $1.9 million Avenue of Flags median. Council Member David King was absent for the vote.

The city will begin the new year by opening bids on the project that is designed to provide parking and flexible, multi-use event space.

Public Works Director Rose Hess noted the plan includes “a lot of decorative features” as well as significant grading and subsurface work.

“We have a lot of decorative features in here. There’s a lot of grading and subsurface work that’s required to do this project as well. All the landscaping is mature trees that we’ve got in there. And all the features as directed through planning commission and council are quality items because this is like the featured project on the avenue to kick off everything so that’s the work that we’ve brought forth,” Hess said.

The city anticipates awarding the bid in mid February with construction to begin in March. If weather and construction efforts align, the project could be complete in September.

According to city staff, the $900,000 budgeted amount will have to be amended to completely fund the project. The council will make that change once the project bids have been received.

The council also voted 4-0 to provide $10,000 in sponsorship to the first Santa Ynez Valley Open Streets event slated for Oct. 4, 2020. The offer included $5,000 in cash and $5,000 of in-kind services including two sheriff’s deputies and use of city space and traffic equipment use.

The event, under the direction of Dean Palius of Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People and Tommy Speidel of the valley’s Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA, will focus on bringing a day of recreation, movement, healthy foods and activities to the valley. They plan to rotate the event annually among the valley’s communities.

“This isn’t a standard festival where people are coming to buy linguica and tortillas. In fact, it’s probably the antithesis,” Palius said.

Complete Series - Green Rush in the 805?: Cannabis on the Central Coast - Looking at land use, money, science, law enforcement and education

"Green Rush in the 805?" explores five areas that will be affected by the legalization of cannabis: land use, money, science, law enforcement and education. Our aim is to equip readers with the knowledge needed to contextualize decisions made by governing bodies, and grasp the challenges that will be faced by growers, law enforcement officials and schools.

For the past 15 years a local agriculture company has been spraying my avocados for persea mites and avocado thrips with Entrust, a certified organic product. Persea mites cause defoliation and low yields. Avocado thrips cause scars that cut wholesale price by half. But this year they won’t spray Entrust or any conventional pesticides for that matter because of fear of lawsuits from cannabis growers. They are one of only three licensed, insured appliers that serve Carpinteria. The second also will no longer spray in Carpinteria for the same reason.

A new recreational cannabis dispensary opened its doors in Lompoc on Friday, becoming the second such business in both the city and all of Santa Barbara County. The Ocean Hye Club, at 1017 E. Ocean Ave., celebrated its first day of operation on Friday morning with plans on hosting a much larger grand opening event on Saturday. Although the shop was not yet fully decorated or stocked, several customers were on hand to check out the new business in its first hour of operation.

The Lompoc Valley Cannabis Association is set to host its first “CannaBrew,” a cannabis industry social mixer. The event aims to provide a networking platform for established and up-and-coming cannabis companies, industry professionals, ancillary service providers and supporters from Lompoc and Santa Barbara County with influence across the Central Coast. It is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at Lompoc’s Hangar 7, 107 W. Ocean Ave.

Cannabis issues will take up most of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday in Santa Maria, where changes to the land use ordinance and the licensing ordinance will be considered. Supervisors are scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. in the Board Hearing Room of the Joseph Centeno Betteravia Government Administration Building at 511 E. Lakeside Parkway.

Deliberations on potential amendments to cannabis business licensing ordinances, which were cut short last week by a loss of electrical power, are scheduled for the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. Supervisors also plan to hear a report on Community Choice Energy and consider special tax levies for two facilities districts — one for the Orcutt Community Plan and the other for Providence Landing — when they meet at 9 a.m. in Santa Barbara.


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