How much time do you think Santa Barbara County has to waste on appeals to cannabis projects?
If the county Planning Commission’s nine-hour hearing on Oct. 30 is any indication, apparently county staffers just have a ton of idle time to spend listening to people whine about cannabis. Yeah, guys. Nine hours. On one item.
And it’s not like it’s an oil well drilling expansion project in Cat Canyon or anything. It’s a freaking farm—on acreage that’s legally obligated under a Williamson Act contract to be used as agricultural land. Hey everyone, guess what? Growing cannabis is an agricultural use.
And it was only one of the first appeals of many that have been filed against cannabis projects approved by the county’s Planning and Development Department.
And the commission didn’t even make a decision on the appeal.
Sara Rotman’s Busy Bees Organics farm is the guinea pig of the lot. It’s being roasted on a spit and eaten for dinner by all of these highfalutin and extremely loud Santa Ynez Valley complainers who just can’t leave well enough alone. And 3rd District Planning Commissioner John Parke, who also happens to be the commission chair, is the ringleader who’s letting them all take a bite.
And he likes being the center of the action, dictating conditions on the project like the decider-in-chief that he purports to be.
He wants the acreage of cannabis allowed on the 64-acre property reduced, hoop houses to be limited to a tiny area that isn’t visible from the road, and for the county to review and re-approve the project in two years. Or, he’s out! He’s not voting for it.
“Just do what I say,” he essentially told county planners when they recommended that he take a straw poll of the other four commissioners who serve on the board. “My opinion is the only one that matters up here on this dais. If I don’t vote for it, no one will!”
OK, he didn’t actually say that, but he might as well have.
Well, shoot. I guess what Parke wants goes. It’s not like a majority of his fellow commissioners could vote to approve the project without him. Oh wait, yes. They can!
But, for Parke, it’s a matter of survival, everyone!
“If I voted for 22 acres [of hoop houses], I would be hanging from a lamppost within 24 hours,” he actually said during the hearing. Really? After President Donald Trump’s statement about being lynched last month, I don’t even know what to say. My mouth is just open in shock.
Also, this whole hoop house thing is ridiculous. It’s an agricultural tool used on ag land, which wasn’t developed to please all of you non-ag people who consider yourselves to be “sensitive receptors” as you drive down the road in a rural area.
Oh no! There’s a hoop house in my viewshed. I’m just going to die right here!
And, does Parke really think that business people aren’t going to fight some arbitrary rule he just came up with requiring an already approved project to come back in for review just so he can put more arbitrary conditions on it that it took him two years to come up with?
I guess Parke has nothing to lose but time.
The Canary has lots of highfalutin time to waste on cannabis. Send comments to [email protected].