Information about the changes Sonoma County planning commissioners will consider for cannabis in the county can be found here.
Sonoma County is reconsidering its rules for cannabis cultivation with the goal of streamlining the approval process for growers and aligning the industry more closely with traditional agriculture.
A central element of the county’s plan is to shift oversight for cannabis farming outside city limits from the planning and building department, known as Permit Sonoma, to the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office — a move that would give cannabis farms a clearer path to approval and eliminate the public appeals that are currently a part of that process.
Supervisors approved the change in oversight about 15 months ago to address the county’s struggle to legalize commercial cannabis cultivation, but the disputed revisions have still not been finalized.
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is set next week to appoint Andrew Smith as the next agricultural commissioner, selecting the deputy to the former commissioner to oversee the county farming sector that produces $1 billion worth of crops annually.
Smith will replace Tony Linegar, who retired in mid-February after working as ag commissioner since 2012. The supervisors are expected to make Smith’s appointment official on Tuesday. His annual salary would be $148,769.
A Sonoma County native, Smith has been deputy commissioner since July 2017 and has worked in the commissioner’s office since May 2002, starting as program assistant and performing such duties as pest detection and trapping. He could not be reached on Wednesday to comment on his appointment.
Rue Furch, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE
Atascadero Creek near Graton has marshy wetlands that are home to dozens of species of birds and wildlife. Wetlands store water during winter rains and release it into the underground where it supplies water for our wells.
HELP PROTECT THIS NATURAL RESOURCE!
On May 5, the County Planning Commission will decide if these wetlands should be included in county planning documents. If they vote “yes,” it will mean “hands off” to vintners, developers and builders who want to fill or plant or dredge these critical areas. SHOW UP AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT! LET THE COMMISSIONERS KNOW OUR WETLANDS ARE IMPORTANT! MAY 5, 2016 – 1:00 P.M. PERMIT AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT DEPT. 2550 Ventura Ave., Santa Rosa CA 95403 FYI: County schedules can change at the last minute. Call the Planning Department at 707-526-1900 the morning of May 5th and ask if the Atascadero Marsh Wetlands study is still on the agenda. To learn more about the Atascadero Watershed area: The Atascadero / Green Valley Watershed Council To read about restoration of this watershed area: Preserving the Atascadero Wetlands
A proposed General Plan Amendment to expand wetland designations for the Atascadero marsh area is to designate the Atascadero wetlands, and add the Biotic Habitat (BH) combining zone which will help protect this sensitive habitat area from future development and impacts from agricultural, orchard and vineyard uses. The proposed changes would provide a 100 foot setback from potential wetlands. The purpose of project is to enhance protection for natural habitat, especially wetlands that adjoin the already protected riparian corridor along Atascadero Creek.
The proposal is to designate the wetland areas on the Opens Space maps with the BH combining zone. The general plan requires a 100 foot setback for discretionary projects from designated wetlands. VESCO also requires a 100 foot setback from wetlands designated in the General Plan. So the protections would apply to discretionary projects (wineries, etc) and orchard and vineyards. The Ag Commissioner has BMPs for other ag that may consider designated wetlands.
The planning commission hearing is set for May 5th, 1:00. The staff report should be available the Friday before the PC meeting (April 29).
Read more at: General Plan Amendment proposal for Atascadero Creek Environment