West county cannabis grow projects scheduled for public hearings | News

Two west county commercial cannabis cultivation projects are headed to final public hearings and comment periods in early August. One is proposed at 885 Montgomery Road west of Sebastopol and a second one is proposed at 2425 Poole Ridge Road near Guerneville. The projects have separate owners.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will consider the application by Eric Bell and Misty Mountain Services at a 10-acre parcel at 885 Montgomery Road at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12 in Santa Rosa. (The meeting is a “virtual” meeting with participation by the public available via Zoom or by telephone.)

A five-year conditional use permit is being sought for 38,484 square feet of outdoor cultivation, 1,547 square feet of indoor cultivation and for on-site processing. The ownership for the property is listed as Healdsburg 600 LLC on county tax records.

Public comments are being accepted through Aug. 11 at Permit Sonoma via email to bos@sonoma-county.org or by recorded phone messages to (707-691-0174. The property is zoned as diverse agriculture and has a main residence and outbuildings. There have been several minor land use violations associated with the property over the last three years, including the construction of a swimming pool without proper permits, according to county zoning inspection records. All past violations appear to have been corrected, according to the same database.

A virtual Board of Zoning Adjustments hearing is scheduled at 1:40 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13 to hear the merits of the Poole Ridge Road application. The property owner Ghassan Murad is seeking a five-year conditional use permit for 15,000 square feet of outdoor cannabis cultivation within a designated 35,196 square-foot area using raised pots on existing gravel pads with no other cultivation support services.

Comments prior to the scheduled hearing can be made to the project planner Justin Klaparda at jklaparda@migcom.com or by phone 510-845-7549. The public may attend the Aug. 13 hearing via the Zoom app or telephone.

Commercial cannabis cultivation projects are now allowed in the unincorporated lands of Sonoma County on 10-acre minimum lot sizes with specific agricultural zonings. Operations must adhere to minimum setbacks from lot boundaries and include specific security practices. Cannabis cultivation is regulated by the county’s agricultural commission and follow the same erosion control, riparian setbacks and other crop rules. However, unlike all other crops, including commercial hemp, cannabis cultivation operations are not protected by the county’s “right to farm” ordinance.

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