Arguments

Arcata Land Company (ALC) aka Sun Valley Floral Farms (SV) is attempting to get a “Conditional Use Permit” from the County of Humboldt that would allow them to grow 8 acres of cannabis in plastic hoop houses and an additional .7 acres of hoop houses as a “nursery.” This is an area adjacent to homes, neighborhoods, schools, and parks. The majority of these are downwind of the proposed corporate mega-grow. This would be the largest grow in Humboldt County.

The Humboldt County Planning Commission approved this project and we have filed an appeal to the Board of Supervisors to overturn this approval. This means that the Board will have the final say (barring litigation) in whether or not this corporate mega-grow will be allowed in the Arcata Bottom. The second part of the appeal will be heard on 7/13/21 at 1:30 via Zoom.

Here’s the info for logging into the 7/13/21 meeting (1:30, time certain): 

Zoom Public Comment: When the Board of Supervisors announce the agenda item that you wish to comment on, call the conference line and turn off your TV or live stream. Please call 253-215-8782, enter Meeting ID 872 3190 5106 and press star (*) 9 on your phone, this will raise your hand. You’ll continue to hear the Board meeting on the call. When it is time for public comment on the item you wish to speak on, the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors staff will unmute your phone. You’ll hear a prompt that will indicate your phone is unmuted. Staff will then ask you to state your name and begin your comment. You will have 3 minutes to comment. You may access the live stream of the meeting by using the following link: https://humboldt.legistar.com/

Please see the Take Action page for additional information!

Consider the following:

THE “BYERS” ODOR CONTROL METHOD THAT IS BEING PROPSED HAS ISSUES as evidenced by this letter we received via Concerned Carpinterians:

“I went thru some of my information as to the problems with the Byers System. I know you are looking for scientific studies to determine its safety or toxicity. Problem is there are none to date.

Carpinteria citizens are being effectively used as guinea pigs in his health study. This, to me, is the worst possible case scenario for using a product on a population. It is unconscionable. I do have some points to share with you.

1. Cannabis Environment Best Management Practices Guide by the Denver Dept of Public Health has recommended carbon scrubbers/filtration as the best VOC mitigation system. They also have experts that may be fruitful for contacting. I will attach the guide to this email.

2. Byer’s had repeatedly told the SLO Board of Supervisors about his public health studies. I requested to see them myself and did obtain them. They are not public health studies; they are rat studies. I critiqued them and sent that to the Board of Supervisors. There are problems with the study and it does not prove safety for humans. There is one part that suggests one of the compounds is harmful to humans, but there is no reference given to the source of this info. Meaning you cannot find the study where that information is given. This alone would discredit Byers’ study from being published in a scientific journal. It also does not give the amount of product being used in the study (or in a public environment situation nor the ability to calculate the amount either), which is not good science and not publishable.

3. I spoke with the manufacturer of the product and was given the degradation rate. The product is persistent in the environment up to 1565% of the original dose used on day 1 due to the retarded degradation rate and with continual use. It does not get rid of the odor molecules, it just attaches to them and falls to the ground until it degrades ~2months later. Anyone can see that continual use will promote a buildup of the product in the environment. The math was done by my calculations, again, anyone can do the math.

4. Product and odor molecule have to be in a 1:1 ratio otherwise the more present molecule will emit odor. This is why it doesn’t work, in my opinion. Impossible to achieve, especially with wind factors. Citizens of Carpinteria can testify to the fact that it doesn’t work.

5. Comments by Marc Byers himself suggest that the product cannot be used within the greenhouse due to the change in taste it will provoke in the plants and to the safety of the workers. Meaning it should not be breathed in continually or be fallen onto the plants. Never mind the produce being grown outside of the green house (other people’s property) and their right to breathe clean air?

I have a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences (my research project was in Toxicology for animal feed) and have a scientific publication record. I tell you this to let you know I have the background to assess a scientific study. I am not an expert in essential oils science, but I do know good science. This science is not adequate to put a product in the environment without question of the prolonged effect on the citizens. This should be the most pronounced statement for the lawyers’ defense. You are not to be his guinea pigs. There are better alternatives. Carbon filtration and photo oxidation.

Please share this with your lawyer to see if she would like to use my information for her defense. If she does, I will be happy to discuss and share my information with her. Please also let me know how you feel about the subject. I really do care about the safety of the people. In my opinion, it is not right to do this kind of experimentation on people.” [email communication from 7/9/21 from Concerned Carpinterians]

CONFLICT BETWEEN ZONING AND THE GENERAL PLAN DESIGNATION: This grow should be limited to what would be allowed under the General Plan designation which would be 1 acre (maximum of 2). We would suggest a phased in approach starting small and working out the issues before allowing additional acreage.

LOSS OF AG LAND: Covering 8.7 acres with hoop houses and an additional 1-2 acres with concrete will take this ag land out of production and the land will no longer be able to capture carbon, which will impact climate change. Covering this much land with hoop houses in an attempt to control the environment in a cold, wet, windy area is a terrible idea.

WATER: A conservative estimate is that over 11.7 million gallons of water will be used every year which will impact local wells and could cause salt water intrusion. A drought could make this even worse. Additionally, water usage should be based on the number of plants and the number of rotations, neither of which are disclosed in the ALC/SV application.

ENERGY USE: This project wants to grow cannabis in an environment that is not suited to growing cannabis. This means that to successfully grow the plant, the environment will need to be tightly controlled.  Added heat, dehumidifiers, fans, lights, etc., will all be needed to grow cannabis in this location.  Daily average energy use JUST for grow lights will be over 2% of what the entire county uses daily. Heating the plastic hoop houses could require up to 3 million BTUs/hour of natural gas. None of the other energy calculations were provided in the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration.

THIS IS NOT SMALL FARMER FRIENDLY: Small farmers and their employees could lose their livelihoods if this is permitted. Many small cannabis farmers are against this project for a number of reasons including that a project of this size could destroy small farmers and their craft products.

ODOR IMPACTS: Imagine the smell from 8 acres of cannabis 24/7 for at least six months out of the year. The project is upwind of many homes and neighborhoods in an area that often sees wind gusts over 20 m.p.h.

NOISE IMPACTS will be substantial. Imagine the noise from all the fans required for the 8 plus acres of hoop houses needed to grow this much cannabis in the cold, humid, wet, windy Arcata Bottom.

SECURITY and LIGHTS: What will the security for this high value crop crop look like? What impact will the motion-sensored security lights in this huge area have on the night skies? Imagine bats flying by, skunks, raccoons, foxes running through and all the night critters that live out here triggering the motion sensors.

SOCIAL COSTS: Health, Safety and Well-being.  The final Humboldt County EIR for regulating commercial cannabis activities (published in 2018) states the “cumulative impacts from exposure of people to objectionable odors would be cumulatively considerable and significant and unavoidable.”  Other impacts to nearby homes and neighborhoods are noise pollution, light pollution from security lights and grow lights for 8 plus acres, loss of the pastoral viewshed, devaluation of property, potential increase in crime. There is no other cannabis grow in Humboldt of this size this close to homes and neighborhoods.

This is only one of a series of permits that threaten the Arcata Bottom and the Arcata Greenbelt. According to the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration, one permit (the old Simpson Warehouse) has already been approved for manufacturing, processing, and distribution of cannabis. Next to this is a 3-acre cannabis grow with a pending permit. At least two more permits have been applied for within one mile of this project. The cumulative impact of all these permits together could be devastating for the Arcata Bottom.

Lastly, please listen to this 20 minute radio show from 3/18/21 by KMUD’s Lauren Schmitt who reports on concerns over Sun Valley’s use pesticides and human right violations