CPA Asks BOS for Fairness with Cannabis Ordinance

TO: Santa Barbara County Planning Commission
RE: 5-11-22 PC Hearing: Item 2: Amendments to Cannabis Land Use ordinance

Dear Chair Cooney and Commissioners:

As you know, Citizens Planning Association has repeatedly expressed concerns about the inadequate protections and safeguards that the County’s uniquely permissive Cannabis ordinance affords to local residents. These impacts, throughout the County, are further exacerbated by the limited protections provided by simple Land Use Permits or Coastal Development Permits. Thus, we support the proposed changes to the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance.

The proposed amendments would amend the Land Use and Development Code to require approval of a Conditional Use Permit, instead of a Land Use permit, for commercial cannabis cultivation in AG-II and Manufacturing zones of the inland area. The proposed amendments would not apply to cannabis projects in the Coastal Zone, which is unfortunate since the impacts to adjacent residents in the Carpinteria and Goleta coastal areas are significant. It is unclear why they would not be entitled to similar protections. We recognize, however, that the BOS has specifically requested the PC amend the LUDC in the manner that is being recommended by staff.

CPA believes a requirement for a CUP may help mitigate the impacts created by the multitude of large outdoor grows concentrated along rural highways. The impacts to water usage, traffic, and existing agriculture all must be considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure adequate conditions are attached to any grant of a permit. We do support the request by the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis that an Odor Abatement Plan be required on AG II properties, and not exempted in the manner that the staff proposal allows.


Marell Brooks
President, Citizens Planning Association