McKinleyville ‘cannabis lab’ hearing postponed

The floor plan for the proposed cannabis lab. From Humboldt County Planning Dept.

Daniel Mintz
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – The advance of the local marijuana industry continues to be tested as a McKinleyville company’s proposal for a manufacturing facility is meeting neighborhood resistance.

Humboldt County’s Planning Commission was set to hold a hearing on the proposal at its Feb. 2 meeting but voted to postpone it to March 2. Supervising Planner Steve Werner said the continuance was requested by the applicant to “address neighborhood concerns.”

A special permit for the manufacturing facility is sought by HCMP Humboldt LLC, which is made up of members of the family that owns the McKinleyville-based Hooven & Co.  Inc. construction company.

The facility is proposed for a portion of the Hooven company’s headquarters at 3445 Central Ave. in McKinleyville. It will manufacture marijuana products, including food items and solvent-based concentrates.

McKinleyville residents at the hearing were given the chance to address commissioners on the project.

McKinleyville resident Dominic Bucciarelli, who is vice chair of the county’s Aviation Advisory Committee and has warned county supervisors of what he described as risks to the California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport, asked if tax revenue from the manufacturing facility will be used to “offset potential loss real estate value of the homes around it.”

Greg Sisk, whose family lives on Johnson Lane, which borders the project site, also highlighted the issue of property values.

He said his family owns three properties near the project site and when he contacted real estate agents about potential impacts, “Everyone concurred that if there was a cannabis lab right next to our street, the values of our properties would diminish immensely.”

Sisk and his wife, Deborah, also told commissioners that their family would be exposed to a “criminal element” attracted by the proposed facility.

Other neighbors of the project submitted written comments objecting to it. Three neighbors requested that a hearing be held, which is an aspect of the special permit process.

The McKinleyville Union School District submitted a written comment stating that the district has three schools near the project and site and “there would be concern for the influence and the impact a marijuana manufacturing facility would have on the students.”

A written staff report states that the facility will be equipped with 24-hour indoor and outdoor “state of the art surveillance technology” and HCMP has submitted plans demonstrating that “performance standards” will be met.

If opposition to the project results in permit denial, implementation of the county’s commercial medical marijuana ordinance could be in doubt.

The commission recently denied a special permit for a marijuana warehouse proposed for Locust Street in Garberville. Comments by neighbors – including the Garberville Sheriff’s Substation – led to the proposal’s rejection.

Prior to last week’s continuance vote on the McKinleyville proposal, Commissioner Ben Shepherd suggested the extra time could be beneficial.  He told the audience, “This will give you another month to delve into the project and seek solutions, if they’re available.”

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