Team 27th News Release
Westwood Neighbors call for Sun Valley Cannabis Grow EIR
In response to the Sun Valley Group’s plans to build a nearly 9-acre commercial cannabis grow in the Arcata Bottoms, local residents are calling on the Humboldt County Planning Commission to require an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Sun Valley, under the name Arcata Land Company, is seeking approval for 8-acres of plastic hoop houses and an additional 30,000 square feet of nursery space for cannabis production at a Thursday, April 22 Planning Commission meeting.
If approved, the development would be the largest cannabis farm in Humboldt County and fifth largest in the State of California.
“My environmental concerns, shared with many neighbors, about this project center around air quality, water consumption, energy use, odor and noise,” Westwood resident and retired Federal Wildlife Research Biologist Jim Cotton said. “In order to understand the impacts of these topics, an EIR must be completed prior to issuing a permit to the applicant.”
Cotton said that aspects of the County’s Mitigated Negative Declaration for this project appear to be in contradiction to the 2018 Final Environmental Impact Report Amendments to Humboldt County Code Regulating Commercial Cannabis Activities. He also said the proximity to neighboring homes and schools would be a first.
"As a homeowner and parent near the proposed Sun Valley Group project, my biggest concerns are the potential for 24-7 noise from fans and odors that haven’t been fully studied,” neighbor and California licensed Civil Engineer Rebecca Crow said. “All residents throughout Humboldt should be concerned with how County leadership seems willing to trade community values for profits."
Residents contend that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document prepared by the Humboldt County Planning Department for this project is poorly written and lacks the evidence needed to support the finding of no significant impacts on the environment. Numerous letters to the Planning Commission have argued that an EIR is required to address the ongoing project changes and scientifically address and mitigate the project impacts before they are cemented in place.
The 900-plus Westwood neighborhood residents living within a half-mile will be most affected by the industrial cannabis farm’s odors, greenhouse fan noise, increased traffic, impacted water quality as well as possible health impacts to the medically fragile and elderly. But local cannabis farmers also alerted the Planning Commission to the company’s potential to stifle smaller grow competitors, and do so unfairly when not held to the same zoning standards.
The March 18 Planning Commission review of the Arcata Land Company/Sun Valley project was overwhelmed with public comment that exceeded the meeting Zoom’s 100-person threshold. That meeting was continued to an April 22 Special Planning Commission Meeting (Arcata Land Co. Application #12255) in anticipation of a large call load.