Residents just outside the Solvang city limits voiced their concerns about a proposed cannabis production facility at the end of College Canyon Road Monday night at the Solvang City Council meeting.
During public comment, Jeff Jacobsen said the proposed 16,000 square foot facility would have a significant impact on Solvang.
He said the facility is more than just a commercial business, and presents problems from zoning to odor.
“We can’t pretend they’re growing sunflower seeds up there,” Jacobsen said.
He said he specifically chose Solvang to raise his children because it’s a safe place.
“A 5.24 acre parcel where the first line of defense is myself and my backyard where my three boys play,” Jacobsen said.
David Shear said he also lives in the unincorporated part of the county and shares the same concerns as Jacobsen.
“It obviously affects the entire Santa Ynez Valley when someone is trying to open a cannabis farm in the area,” Shear said.
He raised concerns about traffic and full-time security.
“The city needs to look at whatever legal means you have to assure that nothing in your sphere of influence would have this type of a commercial property,” Shear said.
Fredensborg Way resident Stephen Jacobs said he worked at the Los Angeles Police Department for 36 years before moving to Solvang and has seen what narcotics can do.
“There’s still a side of this that’s a dark side,” Jacobs said.
He said he wasn’t just speaking for himself, but for his neighbors in opposing the business.
“Jeff brought up most of the issues; the odor, the noise, the lighting, the traffic, the use of the water and also the security aspect of that,” Jacobs said.
Chuck Stacy said “this is bad stuff and it’s out of control.”
He asked what would happen to Solvang if marijuana production were allowed to proliferate.
“Who’s going to come to a stink pot?” Stacy asked.
Herb Bundgen said Fredensborg Canyon Road is a family neighborhood.
The 35-year resident said there would be a lot of signatures on a petition opposing the facility.
“Seriously consider giving your full support to not letting this go out of control,” Bundgen said.
Solvang City Attorney Dave Fleishman said the proposal, which is still in the planning process, is for development under county jurisdiction and the county has its own permitting process.
He said the city role would be limited to commenting on processes that the county has set up.
“To the extent the city wants to chime on on security controls, if that’s going to happen, or other types of environmental concerns, the city has an opportunity to comment on the process,” Fleishman said.
“Could the city issue a resolution opposing it for specific reasons?” Mayor Jim Richardson asked.
“The city council sure could, absolutely,” Fleishman responded.
Richardson asked city staff to add the item to a future agenda.
“Like, right away,” Councilor Joan Jamieson added.
Jamieson said that she and Richardson attended a meeting that Jacobsen held.
“There were some angry people there, there were some knowledgeable people there. They’re going to be well organized and I wish you the best. And if there’s anything I can do to help I’m in the telephone book,” she said.
Councilor Neill Zimmerman asked if the Fredensborg Canyon properties could still be annexed into the city.
Fleishman said landowners could band together and ask to be annexed in, but it's a decision LAFCO would have to make.
Jamieson brought up the councilors' previous effort to annex parcels of land outside city limits.
Earlier this year, the city abandoned a “sphere of influence” study on annexation.
“Maybe we need to create a sphere all the way around the city of Solvang to keep this away,” she said. “But we didn’t get any support.”
Councilor Karen Waite said she still wants to do the financials on the sphere of influence study.
“I find this quite unfortunate that this is happening at this point,” Waite said.
Richardson asked that the issue be on the Dec. 10 meeting agenda.