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 appeal will be heard on 6/22/21 at 10:30 via Zoom. Once the link is provided to us by the county (we were told this won’t happen until Friday 6/18), we will publish it here. Please see the Take Action page for additional information!

Consider the following:

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