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Supes Amend Cannabis Regs Contract, Comment On Don Pedro Relicensing

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Sonora, CA — Arranging for further help in developing Tuolumne County’s cannabis regulations and weighing in on the Lake Don Pedro Hydroelectric Project were addressed in short order by the supervisors Tuesday.

Back in July of last year, the supervisors approved the signing of an agreement with SCI Consulting Group not to exceed $22,500 for professional services to help develop and enact the county’s local marijuana regulations with scope covering 12 onsite meetings over six trips.

As the board recently directed that the development work also pursue exploration of commercial cannabis activities, staff recommended that the agreement be expanded to provide essential support of that process, which after short discourse, the supervisors agreed to in a 5-0 vote. The added scope is slated to be done over the course of 11 additional meetings and nine trips for an added flat fee of $20,300, plus reimbursement of incidental out-of-pocket costs not to exceed $4,000 for actual costs.

Supervisors  Take License To Comment On Don Pedro Project

As reported here,  the Turlock (TID) and Modesto (MID) irrigation districts, which share rights on the Tuolumne River and ownership of the Don Pedro Project and reservoir powerhouse are deep within multi-year processes involving the re-licensing of Don Pedro Reservoir through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) along with completing a first-time license deemed necessary by FERC to operate La Grange Dam. As part of their final submission, the districts solicited the supervisors’ input.

While acknowledging plans within the relicensing project to enhance the Wards Ferry whitewater take-out accommodations, the Tuolumne County Community Resources Agency staff identified concerns not addressed in the updated plan submitted to FERC — and suggested that they be included in the board’s comment letter to FERC.

Among the issues covered in the draft letter are unaddressed unsafe travel and access conditions for recreaters and through-traffic on and near the bridge along with a need for an improved walking path, restroom facilities, recreational parking and cell phone communications capabilities. The need coordination between county staff and the districts was also requested to discuss roadway improvement needs along Wards Ferry and Bonds Flat roads and J59.

Voicing Public Safety Issues With Don Pedro Spillway

Each taking turn, supervisors Randy Hanvelt, Karl Rodefer, John Gray and Sherri Brennan strongly concurred, also making a case to include in the FERC letter that the districts should consider a bridge on Bonds Flat Road to go up and over the Don Pedro emergency spillway or engineer another means for the road to operate independent of the spillway.

The present setup, which they characterized as a major public safety concern, requires parts of Bonds Flat Road to be taken out perhaps during already extreme or emergency conditions. This forces residents and emergency personnel to use a much longer alternate route. Since the dam was built it has happened twice, including during last winter’s floods. The board ultimately voted unanimously to include language in the letter illuminating this concern, also noting the county’s commitment to working with the districts on devising a solution.