The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider implementing new development standards and permit requirements regarding certain commercial cannabis activities.
In July 2019, the board directed staff to have the Planning Commission come up with recommendations or strategies to help mitigate the odor and other impacts of cannabis operations along urban-rural boundaries, as well as conflicts with existing agriculture operations. Following four public hearings, the Planning Commission adopted a resolution and recommended the board amend the County Land Use and Development Code and added the requirement of a conditional use permit for all cultivation and related activities. In addition, the commission recommended the board amend an article of the Coastal Zoning Ordinance to ensure odor abatement plans wouldn’t be detrimental to the health, safety or general welfare of the neighborhood and would be compatible with the surrounding area.
“By making this change to the development standard for odor abatement plans, the Planning Commission’s recommended odor control requirements would be aligned with the standards for approval of the CUPs that would be required for cannabis cultivation and related on-site processing activities,” the staff report reads.
Under the proposal, all coastal zone cultivation operations, including cultivation, distribution and processing, would require a conditional use permit that is appealable to the Coastal Commission. This would also apply to certain inland operations, according to the staff report.
For odor control, it is recommended that the development standard be changed to account for impacts to all possible “sensitive receptors to odors,” according to the report.
“The new development standard would require decision-makers to determine the requisite amount and type of odor control based on the proposed type of cannabis activity, manner in which the cannabis activity would be conducted (e.g., indoor or outdoor), odor-generating activities’ (e.g., on-site drying or freezing) proximity to sensitive receptors surrounding the project site, site-specific meteorological conditions and topography, etc., using the discretion that would be afforded to decision-makers when considering the findings for approval of the CUP that would be required for the proposed project,” the staff report reads.
The amendments to the LUDC would take effect 30 days after adoption, while the article amendments would take effect upon certification from the Coastal Commission, which could take up to 15 months after adoption.
When the ordinance takes effect, projects that have not been issued land use permits, or those that have the permits but have not implemented the permits would be subject to the new permitting and odor control requirements. As of May 19, 241 permit applications are pending or approved but have not been issued. A total of 28 permit applications have been issued, according to the report.
“Cannabis activities that are the subject of an issued LUP or CDP and are vested, would become legal nonconforming based on their noncompliance with the new permitting requirements and, possibly in certain cases, the new odor control requirements,” the report reads.
Also on Tuesday, the board will receive a COVID-19 update and the county’s response and operations.
In other business, the county will consider adopting an urgency ordinance to authorize the Public Works Director to temporarily issue special encroachment permits for operations by businesses and community entities in county rights-of-way during the pandemic. The ordinance requires a four-fifths vote.
The board will also discuss suspending zone regulations and permit restrictions on wineries and wine tasting rooms serving food, as long as they are compliant with state laws regarding retail food and alcohol and state and local directives on reopening.
Tuesday’s meeting will be televised on local cable channel 20, as well as online at www.countyofsb.org/ceo/csbtv/livestream.sbc. The meeting will also be streamed on YouTube, at www.youtube.com/user/CSBTV20.
Those who wish to participate can contact firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the meeting, or call 805-568-2240.