Julie Johnson, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A Geyserville property owner who launched a medical cannabis farm has agreed to pay $245,000 in fines and penalties for what Sonoma County prosecutors said was improper water diversion, unpermitted grading and site work that harmed streams in the Russian River watershed.
Property owner Darryl Crawford, a Napa-based investor with experience building wine cellars, said most of the issues on the sprawling 330-acre Geysers Road property stemmed from old roads, water systems and other features built decades ago by a prior owner.
But state Fish and Wildlife officials said that unauthorized work that Crawford had done on the property, including attempts to stop sediment from flowing into streams, created additional problems. Prosecutors said also that the cultivation site was graded without a permit.
Prosecutors sued Crawford and his companies Black Mountain Developers and Cold Creek Group in an effort to get them to comply with environmental regulations and acquire the needed permits to improve the site’s roads and water systems, Deputy District Attorney Ann Gallagher White said.
“The penalties were high because the conduct was egregious and lasted for a long time,” Gallagher White said.