The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury has recommended tweaks to the California county’s cannabis permitting process.
The grand jury released a report May 8 that summarizes the county’s cannabis licensing process and issues seven recommendations for Humboldt County’s Public Works Department, Planning and Building Department and Board of Supervisors to change it, according to a Times-Standard report.
The report recommends that the Board of Supervisors approve funding for the Planning and Building Department to upgrade Accela, the county’s online permit submission system, to ensure that applicants can complete the application and pay the associated fees online, the Times-Standard reported.
The grand jury also recommended that “the Public Works Department determine the funding needed and submit a budget request to build out Accela modules for Planning and Building Department referrals for (1) encroachment permitting, (2) legal document review, (3) map review, (4) a drainage fee calculator, (5) encroachment violation and tracking, (6) reporting tools for each module and other modules determined to be necessary,” according to the news outlet.
The report also suggests that the Board of Supervisors should approve enough funding for the Public Works Department for fiscal year 2022-2023 to implement Accela to meet the department’s specific needs, the Times-Standard reported.
In addition, the grand jury recommended that the Planning and Building Department provide instructions for the public to search a location without creating an Accela account or contacting department staff, according to the news outlet.
The report also recommends that the Planning and Building Department act on all interim cannabis permits in Humboldt County upon receiving notice of the state provisional license’s approval or denial, the Times-Standard reported.
The Planning and Building Department should also notify applicants of the corrective actions required to get their applications approved for applications pending more than 30 days, according to the grand jury’s recommendations, and by Dec. 31, Public Works employees should verify that a roadway that is part of the permitting application meets the applicable requirements, the news outlet reported.
The grand jury’s assessment and recommendations are aimed at addressing the more than 900 cannabis-related permit applications that were pending in Humboldt County as of January, according to the Times-Standard. The land use applications are expected to increase, the grand jury noted in its report, for both residential and commercial development in the county, and since Prop. 64 passed in 2016 to legalize adult-use cannabis, most of the permit applications submitted to the Planning and Building Department have been related to cannabis cultivation.
The grand jury gave the Public Works and Planning and Building Departments 60 days to respond to its recommendations, while the Board of Supervisors has 90 days to respond, according to the Times-Standard.