Following a public outcry at a recent planning commission meeting, the Arcata Land Company has offered to slash its proposed 22.9-acre cannabis project at the former Simpson Timber Mill site.
The total cultivation area of the new offer would be 12 acres in response to the public’s call for the Humboldt County Planning Commission to deny the project during a March 18 hearing.
Community members raised concerns the industrial commercial cannabis project — spanning nearly 1 million square feet — is too big and too close to residential neighborhoods in the Arcata Bottoms.
Humboldt County Planning and Building Director John Ford confirmed the Arcata Land Company’s offer to scale back the proposed project but said he did not know specifics.
“All I know is the conceptual description of (the project), but we have not seen plans internally, so I can’t give specifics in terms of design,” Ford told the Times-Standard Monday morning. “I’m not trying to be evasive, I just don’t know. What I do know is that they are proposing to reduce the cultivation area down to eight acres with four acres of commercial nurseries.”
Reached by email on Monday afternoon, Lane DeVries, CEO of the Arcata-based floral company Sun Valley Floral Farms and property owner of the proposed project, told the Times-Standard he could not provide further information.
“At this point, I can’t confirm anything as we are in the middle of project modification discussions,” DeVries said, adding that he may have more information later this week.
According to a March 31 letter to the Planning Commission from Natalynne DeLapp and Ross Gordon of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, the Arcata Land Company sent “a proposal in writing that suggested a willingness to reduce the scale of the project to eight acres of mature plant cultivation and four acres of nursery space” on March 30.
The Arcata Land Company believes the revised project would satisfy the HCGA’s previous request to scale back the project, according to the letter.
“After reviewing the language in Humboldt’s cannabis ordinances, and discussing with our membership, we do not agree,” the letter stated. “The (Commercial Cannabis Land Use Ordinance) states that ‘no more than eight acres of commercial cannabis cultivation permits may be issued to a single person’ (220.127.116.11.1). The CCLUO also clearly defines ‘commercial cannabis cultivation’ to include nurseries. For purposes of the eight-acre limitation in the CCLUO, the revised project proposal is for 12 acres of cultivation.”
The HCGA said it “appreciate(s) the willingness of Arcata Land Company to consider alternative proposals in response to community feedback” but said it would not support the project unless it is “revised to less than eight acres of total size, and if it is in conformance with other legal restrictions.”
Reached for further comment on Monday afternoon, HCGA executive director Natalynne DeLapp told the Times-Standard the letter is HCGA’s official stance.
“Until a revised project description has been submitted to the county which is made publicly available, the Arcata Land Company’s project still stands as a 23-acre project,” DeLapp added.
The Planning Commission will hold a second hearing on the Arcata Land Company’s proposed project during its regular meeting on April 22 at 6 p.m.