The owners of two proposed cannabis grows in Bennett Valley are violating environmental or planning laws while the county allows them to continue to grow their lucrative crops. California Fish and Wildlife has determined that a grower on Matanzas Creek Lane has polluted and diverted a stream channel. Not long ago, the county district attorney pursued a criminal trial against my neighbor for merely clearing streamside brush.
A grower on Eagle Ridge has built five huge greenhouses on the ridgeline without a permit. The property abuts the North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park and cannot be a commercial marijuana grow under the Cannabis Ordinance. Under the Bennett Valley area plan, any development requires preconstruction design review, cannot have a significant adverse effect on adjacent property, must avoid ridgelines, and cannot be commercial. When my family built our home in Bennett Valley the design review procedures delayed us a year.
Why won’t the county shut down these business operations until they comply with the law? In reporting on the recent home invasions, CBS News stated, “Sonoma County embraces marijuana cultivation with open arms.” The county has gone way too far in protecting marijuana scofflaws. Is the problem a lack of legal authority to enforce the law, or does the county lack the will to do so?
If you want to find the pot grows nearest your home, check out Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods where there’s a map of all proposed grows in the county: Sosneighborhoods.com/
— Craig S. Harrison, Bennett Valley