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Calaveras Supes To Review Marijuana Grow Ordinance Compliance

San Andreas, CA – Tuesday the Calaveras supervisors will address an agenda packed with presentations and the need to make several appointments to the county’s new Resource Conservation District Board (RCD).

However the first order of business at 9 a.m. for the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors will be to adopt a proclamation locally recognizing the day, Sept. 27, as National Voter Registration Day. Although citizens may register or update their information online, the county Elections Office plans to be open until 6 p.m. Tuesday in support of statewide efforts to encourage the nearly seven million eligible Californians who have not yet registered to vote in the Nov. 8 Presidential General Election.

Not likely to come up until the afternoon, as it is slated nearly two dozen agenda items down the list, is a status update from county staff on how things are going regarding compliance to the county’s urgency ordinance regulating medical marijuana grows. According to Planning Director Peter Maurer, whose written report is included in the meeting documents, the Sheriff’s Office, Public Works, and Environmental Management will be providing oral updates to the board.

‘Bad Actors’ Getting Away With Noncompliance 

In his summary, Maurer points out that the program is still in its infancy and the various departments are still developing the necessary infrastructure to track and enforce compliance. He also notes that, since it is now harvest season many cultivators who are not in compliance may this year reap the benefits of what could be illegal grows.

Maurer’s figures include that applications accepted on or before June 30 totaled 740 for commercial grows along with 181 personal and 74 caregiver registrations. He adds that planning staff, in coordination with the other departments, is still reviewing them. The lengthy process includes field inspections; a background check for each applicant; the review of indemnity agreement and validity of signatures by county counsel; also verification of hazardous materials storage compliance by Environmental Management.

Of the application fees being paid into a special operating account — $5,000 for commercial cultivators, $200 for caregivers, and $100 for personal cultivation – Maurer states over $3.7 million was collected to cover associated program costs.

Cannabis Ordinance Costs

Between application intake and processing, inspections, abatement and additional equipment, costs as of Sept. 16 totaled about $304,425. Of the amount, about $247,000 covered salaries and benefits; $57,000 has been spent in services and supplies. Maurer includes that next year’s budget allows for the hiring of 29 positions and purchase of nine vehicles to support registration, environmental management and code enforcement.

As of last week, Maurer reports that 27 grow applications have been denied. Nine appeals of those denials have been filed. Additionally, applications for 26 grows were either rejected at the time of submittal or failed to complete the intake process. Seven of these were appealed; six were upheld by the Planning Commission.

Three of these are on the agenda as appeals to the supervisors at the meeting. These are a Paloma grow in the 7000 block of Lawson Road belonging to Joel Pitto and Dasi Daniels; a Highway 49 Mokelumne Hill operation filed on behalf of Josh Fasching; and another located in the 5100 block of June Ave. in Wilseyville belonging to Mark Davis.

Seating Seven RCD Directors

Back on June 7, local residents voted to establish an RCD, which was subsequently approved by the supervisors. The first meeting of the RCD, in fact, is slated for Tuesday night at 6. However, the board still needs to appoint the RCD’s seven-member panel of directors, of which one must be a public industry representative from a water or wastewater district and one must be a private agricultural industry representative.

According to the supervisors’ meeting documents, 14 hopefuls have submitted applications for the positions. They are Charles “Sid” Beckman; Robert Dean; Brady Dubois; Steve Elliott; N. Keith Hafley; Tim Johnson; Alan Leavitt; Gordon Long; Nick Musachia; Michael Robie; Franziska Schabram; Thomas Sullivan; Nicolas Valente; and David Vassar.

The county’s Tree Mortality Task Force will be providing an update on long-term planning and activities that includes the status of funding applications in the pipeline that will pay for geographic aerial photography for the purpose of identifying and mapping dead trees and impacted areas. Other financial assistance being tapped will help cover tree removals on public road right-of-ways. Staff is also following grant requests submitted for fire break clearing projects from local fire districts and otherwise coordinating with various public and private agencies, including PG&E.

Where To Take The Dead Trees?

Tree processing sites are still being investigated. Among these is a former mill site off Associated Office Road near the Highway 26 corridor. Three are near Highway 4; above Dorrington at Cabbage Patch; the former Meadowmont golf course property; also grazing land below Vallecito opposite Red Hill Road.

In a related matter the supervisors anticipate approving nearly $1.6 million in additional biological and cultural monitoring and compliance scope from Tetra Tech, which has been under contract since mid-June to ensure that FEMA debris removal requirements are being met. Over $900,000 will cover the cost of a biological monitors and more than $690,000 will pay for cultural monitors to oversee tree removals in certain areas within the Butte Fire burn scar that might impact fragile habitat or cultural resources.

Tuesday’s meeting will be held in the supervisors chambers (891 Mountain Ranch Road) in San Andreas.