Proposed after-W ordinance text released

NEVADA CITY, Calif. July 21, 2016 – The proposed ordinance to replace the current outdoor marijuana growing ban in Nevada County has been released. After the defeat of Measure W in the June election, the Board of Supervisors met three times with stakeholders to exchange proposals to regulate cannabis cultivation. The last meeting was tense at times and ended with patient and growers representatives declining to endorse the county’s proposed numbers. Now, the county’s draft ordinance is available for public viewing before Tuesday’s 1:30 meeting.

Little changes from the last proposal

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Today at noon, the revised draft ordinance was released. The part pertaining to cultivation reads as follows:

The following limitations apply to Cultivation of Marijuana on each Premises located within the unincorporated area of Nevada County, regardless of the number of Qualified Patients or Primary Caregivers residing at the Premises or participating directly or indirectly in the Marijuana Cultivation activity. These limitations shall be imposed notwithstanding any assertion that the person(s) Cultivating Medical Marijuana are the Primary Caregiver(s) for Qualified Patients or that such person(s) are collectively or cooperatively Cultivating Marijuana.
1. In areas designated primarily for residential use, Marijuana Cultivation may occur on a Parcel or Premises which serves as a Legally Permitted Primary Residence only as follows:
a. Cultivation of Marijuana, Indoors or Outdoors, is prohibited in all areas zoned as R-1, R-2 and R-3 on Legal Parcels or Premises of any size.
b. In areas designated as Residential and Estate in the Nevada County General Plan and zoned R-A only as follows:

i. Indoor or Outdoor Cultivation of Marijuana on Legal Parcels equal to or less than (5) acres in size is prohibited.

ii. On Parcels greater than 5 acres up to 10 acres in size, a total maximum of 12 plants are permitted to be cultivated Indoors only. No Outdoor cultivation is permitted.

iii. On Parcels which are greater than 10 acres in size up to 20 acres in size, Cultivation of Marijuana is permitted up to a total maximum of 16 plants, mature or immature, per Parcel, cultivated Indoors or Outdoors or a combination of both. A maximum of 12 plants may be cultivated Indoors. Cultivation Outdoors must be conducted in one contiguous staked grow area which does not exceed 800 square feet in size.

iv. On Parcels which are greater than 20 acres in size, Cultivation of Marijuana is permitted up to a total maximum of twenty-five (25) plants, mature or immature, per Parcel, cultivated Indoors or Outdoors or a combination of both. A maximum of 12 plants may be cultivated Indoors. Cultivation Outdoors must be conducted in one contiguous staked grow area which does not exceed 1000 square feet in size.

2. In areas designated primarily for agricultural uses (e.g., AG, AE, FR, TPZ and areas designated in the Nevada County General Plan as Rural and zoned R-A), Marijuana Cultivation may occur on a Parcel or Premises which serves as a Legally Permitted Primary Residence only as follows:

a. Indoor or Outdoor Cultivation of Marijuana on Legal Parcels less than or equal to two (2) acres in size is prohibited.

b. Cultivation of Marijuana on Legal Parcels which are greater than two (2) acres up to five (5) acres may not exceed a total maximum of 12 plants, mature or immature, to be Cultivated Indoors only. No Outdoor cultivation is permitted.

c. Cultivation of Marijuana on Legal Parcels which are greater than five (5) acres up to ten (10) acres, may not exceed a total maximum of 12 plants, mature or immature, per Parcel, cultivated Indoors or Outdoors or a combination of both. Cultivation Outdoors must be conducted in one contiguous staked grow area which does not exceed 600 square feet in size.

d. Cultivation of Marijuana on Legal Parcels which are greater than ten (10) acres up to twenty (20) acres is permitted up to a total maximum of 16 plants, mature or immature, per Parcel, cultivated Indoors or Outdoors or a combination of both. A maximum of 12 plants may be cultivated Indoors. Cultivation Outdoors must be conducted in one contiguous staked grow area which does not exceed 800 square feet in size.

e. Cultivation of Marijuana on Legal Parcels which are greater than twenty (20) acres is permitted up to a total maximum of twenty-five (25) plants, mature or immature, per Parcel, cultivated Indoors or Outdoors or a combination of both. A maximum of 12 plants may be cultivated Indoors. Cultivation Outdoors must be conducted in one contiguous staked grow area which does not exceed 1000 square feet in size.

F. The following setbacks shall apply to all Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation areas and shall be measured in a straight line from the nearest border of the Outdoor staked grow area or Indoor Cultivation area to the property line of any adjacent Legal Parcel under separate ownership.
1. For all Parcels or Premises:
a. Parcels of greater than 2 acres up to 5 acres: 150 ft.
b. Parcels of greater than 5 acres up to 10 acres: 200 ft.
c. Parcels of greater than 10 acres: 300 ft.
H. All Marijuana Cultivation, whether Indoors or Outdoors, shall comply with the following requirements:
9. Noise levels generated by Cultivation shall not exceed the standards set forth in Table L-II 4.1.7 (Exterior Noise Limits) of the Nevada County Zoning Ordinance applicable to the Land Use Category and Zoning District for the Premises on which the Cultivation occurs.

The Findings and Purpose portion of the ordinance reads, in part: “Consistent with the intent stated in Resolution 16-082, a Board of Supervisors subcommittee met with local marijuana cultivation advocates on three occasions to attempt to craft regulations to put into place while repealing the outdoor cultivation ban. Consensus was not reached. This action is necessary to uphold the commitment to repeal the outdoor cultivation ban and to adopt other regulations.”

Fines attached to non-compliance are listed but implementation will be delayed until January 1, 2017. The administrative penalties are structured as follows:

• $100/per day/per violation for the first violation
• $200/per day/per violation for the second violation within 12 months
• $500/per day/per violation for any subsequent violation within 12 months

Editor’s note at 12:15 pm: This story will be updated with additional details throughout the afternoon.

“Commercial” cannabis activity still prohibited

Still in the ordinance: Commercial Cannabis Activity in any amount or quantity on property located within the unincorporated territory of Nevada County is hereby prohibited.

The “redlined” version of the current ordinance highlights the changes proposed, you can download the pdf file here.

Enforcing the ordinance is a choice, not a duty

The ordinance’s last section, rarely mentioned, gives prosecutorial discretion to the county. In plain English, an enforcing officer has the choice to enforce any or all provisions of the ordinance. Section G-IV 5.19 reads:

No Duty to Enforce
Nothing in this Article shall be construed as imposing on the Enforcing Officer or the County of Nevada any duty to issue a Notice to Abate Unlawful Marijuana Cultivation, nor to abate any unlawful Marijuana Cultivation, nor to take any other action with regard to any unlawful Marijuana Cultivation, and neither the Enforcing Officer nor the County shall be held liable for failure to issue an order to abate any unlawful Marijuana Cultivation, nor for failure to abate any unlawful Marijuana Cultivation, nor for failure to take any other action with regard to any unlawful Marijuana Cultivation.