The OASIS Meeting Center project, a budget development report and an appeal seeking to shut down a cannabis project were all discussed at Tuesday’s Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting. (The appeal was denied.)
At Tuesday’s session in Santa Maria, representatives for the Orcutt Area Seniors in Service proposed the construction of a new meeting center to the board.
OASIS is a nonprofit community resource serving senior citizens in Orcutt, which is just outside Santa Maria.
The project consists of a 15,661 square-foot facility as well as parking modification, access roads, landscaping and private trails within the development area.
OASIS explained to the board the development should have been built years ago, and planners have amended the project for years to accommodate neighbors’ concerns.
The members of the board voiced their support of OASIS as well as their work toward the meeting center.
“OASIS isn’t just about a retreat,” Chairman Bob Nelson said during the meeting. “What OASIS does is really important to my community. OASIS is very much the heart of Orcutt.”
Supervisor Gregg Hart followed Supervisor Nelson saying, “It’s really important that they are keeping the community healthy by actively engaging and serving 1,400 Orcutt residents with programs and services. With landscaping and a thoughtful design, this is a high quality project I can support.”
The board unanimously passed the nonprofit’s recommended actions to move forward with development.
The County Executive Office presented the board with a budget development report and proposed policies for fiscal year 2022-2023.
The office cited the UCLA Anderson Forecast, which expects solid gross domestic product growth in the coming fiscal year. The forecast also reported to the Board that California is likely to fiscally outpace the U.S. as a whole.
The County Executive Office also cited the Legislative Analyst’s Office’s projection of a potential $31 billion state budget surplus for 2022-2023.
The office projected revenue growth within Santa Barbara County, which will help to offset increased labor costs.
Its recommendation to the board moving forward was to prioritize one-time financial needs rather than ongoing costs.
The County Executive Office’s potential one-time uses of funding was shown in their list of Board Priority focus areas and included open space and recreational projects, greater criminal justice diversion projects and many more investments in the public.
“As I look at the Board Priority focus areas, it reflects things all year long that we’ve discussed,” Vice Chair Joan Hartmann told the representative of the office.
“We might not have as much elbow room with the general fund, but it’s because we’re spending the money wisely,” said Supervisor Steve Lavagnino. “The jail is being funded, and roads are being built.”
Supervisor Nelson commended the County Executive Office for its presentation, and the members of the board unanimously passed their recommended actions.
The County’s Federal and State Legislative Advocates presented their 2021 annual report as well as their accomplishments to the board.
Some of these accomplishments included $86.6 million allocated to Santa Barbara County through the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund and $27 million in Emergency Rental Assistance to Santa Barbara County.
The team continued to report its Legislative Platform for 2022 and proposed new planks and principles. The new planks were cannabis state licensing, taxation and coordination as well as the Brown Act and Public Access Flexibility. The new principle was centered around diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Our county is well served by Mr. Gilchrest and Mr. Berg,” Supervisor Hartmann said in the meeting. “I serve on the Legislative Committee with Supervisor Williams, and it’s a pleasure working with you both.”
The Board unanimously agreed to the team’s Legislative Platform and recommended actions.
The meeting concluded with Cresco California responding to the Claffey Appeal of their Cannabis Cultivation and Processing Project.
This presentation is a response to an appeal by Maureen Claffey to shut down the Cresco Cannabis Project due to its impact on the Arroyo Paredon Creek’s habitat as well as issues of odor control.
Cresco presented its plan for odor abatement within its cultivation and processing facilities.
The company addressed issues of environmental impact and claimed a Habitat Protection Plan is not necessary as its vapor phase solution is not a health hazard or air quality pollutant.
Cresco recommended that the board deny the appeal and determine the previously certified Programmatic Environmental Impact Report is adequate.
“Odor has consistently improved in the Carpenteria area throughout the past few years, but it’s important to do more,” said Supervisor Das Williams. “And that is exactly what this project is proposing to do. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to deny the appeal and approve the project.”
“The more we have a cannabis operator who is willing to interact with the community and be proactive, the better it’s going to be,” said Supervisor Lavagnino. “I am supportive of this project.”
The board unanimously passed a motion to deny the appeal and allow for the now amended project to move forward with operation.