LAKEPORT — The Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission are set to consider items regarding cannabis permitting at meetings this week.
Today, the Supervisors are likely to reduce the fee for cannabis grow permits from $5,073 to $4,160.
On Thursday, the Planning Commission will consider five applications for new cannabis operations in Lake County, four of which come from the Benmore Valley Ranch property located near the summit of Highway 175 (Hopland Grade).
Benmore Valley Ranch is owned by resident Robert Adelman, who is a supporter of cannabis cultivation in Lake County. The permit applications, however, come not from Adelman but from four individuals involved with developing grows on the property.
Caitlin Stouvenot, Steven Luu, Victor Vincente, and Phillipe Stouvenot are each applying for single-acre (65,000 foot total cultivation area) grow permits. The applicants having already received early activation permits in May 2018, the areas to be considered for major use permits on Thursday are currently growing marijuana, and paying the required cannabis tax of $1 per square foot.
The fifth cannabis permit to be considered is located off of Bottle Rock Road in Kelseyville, and has been submitted by Lawrence Johnson of Sweetwater Farms. Because this grow clocks in at just 1,440 square feet of canopy space and is to be located inside a “specialty cottage,” the application is only for a minor use permit.
According to last year’s County budget, cannabis permitting cost the County more than the cannabis tax brought in. Supervisors Rob Brown and Moke Simon have expressed doubt that cannabis will be profitable within the new few years for the County.
But as more cannabis tax is raised from more cultivation sites like the ones to be considered this week, those numbers could change. Benmore Valley Ranch owner Adelman has said that 38 acres of cannabis cultivation are possible for the entire valley. At $65,000 a year per acre, the tax raised in one year at maximum cultivation would near $2,500,000 for that property alone.
At its Thursday meeting, the Planning Commission will also consider an application from Verizon Wireless to build a 70-foot unmanned cellphone tower on Worley Drive in Lakeport, on County-owned property. The proposed project has received a mitigated negative declaration of environmental impact.
The Planning Commission will also consider an application from the Lower Lake Methodist Church to rebuild its church building, which was destroyed by fire.