Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Considers Higher Level Permit for Cannabis Cultivation
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Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Considers Higher Level Permit for Cannabis Cultivation

While a land use permit is currently required for most cultivation operations, an amended ordinance would require a conditional use permit for all cannabis cultivation applications submitted in certain zones.

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May 16, 2022

Leaders in California’s Santa Barbara County are considering a new ordinance that would require a higher level of permit for those looking to grow cannabis in all unincorporated inland areas, according to the Santa Maria Times.

The Planning Commission voted 5-0 on May 11 to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt an ordinance amendment proposed by the Planning and Development Department that would require a conditional use permit for all cannabis cultivation applications submitted in Agriculture 2 and Manufacturing zones, the news outlet reported.

Currently, a land use permit is required for most cultivation operations, according to the Santa Maria Times.

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The amendment would automatically shift applications for land use permits that have not received final approval to applications for conditional use permits, the news outlet reported.

The changes would also apply to existing cannabis cultivation operations with approved land use permits if operators request changes “that would substantially deviate from approved operations, have additional adverse environmental impacts, or require added mitigation measures,” according to the Santa Maria Times.

The proposal would not require conditional use permits for “minor or beneficial changes” to existing cannabis cultivation operations with approved land use permits, the news outlet reported.

The amendment would also require cultivators to have odor control plans in place if their operations are adjacent to an existing developed rural neighborhood or an urban rural boundary, according to the Santa Maria Times, as well as if their operations would exceed 51% of the gross area of Agriculture 2 lots or if they lie within the Santa Ynez Valley Community Plan area.

The proposal would also transfer the responsibility of approving permits from the Planning and Development Department to the Planning Commission, which would provide a public hearing for each application, the Santa Maria Times reported.

In approving the proposed amendment, the Planning Commission gave the Board of Supervisors three options to consider, according to the news outlet. These proposals would exempt seven applicants with permits under appeal, as well as not require conditional use permits for indoor cultivation and nursery operations in manufacturing zones.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will consider the amendment—and the related options—at its May 24 meeting, the Santa Maria Times reported.