The County’s Big Cleanup: Retirement, Remediate, and Relocate

Humboldt County’s recently passed Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance (MMLUO) includes a provision to encourage growers to come out of the hills and relocate medical marijuana cultivation sites from marginally productive and environmentally sensitive areas to parcels more suitable for agricultural production.
Under Section 55.14.4 of the MMLUO, cultivation sites located on parcels zoned TC, FR, TPZ, U, RA, AG or AE, with un-permitted surface water diversion, with slopes 15% or greater, and that were in operation prior to January 1, 2016, may be “relocated” to parcels with prime agricultural soils, with non-diversionary water sources, and with slopes 15% or less.
The incentive for retiring, remediating, and relocating (RRR) cultivation sites is that the County will grant a Zoning Clearance Certificate for a cultivation area on the new cultivation site up to four times the cultivation area on the RRR site, up to 20,000 square feet.
However, the incentives come with a cost. Per the County ordinance, in order to receive the benefits, the operator of a retired site “shall prepare” a plan for the full environmental remediation of the RRR site, including removal of all cultivation related materials, equipment and improvements, regrading preexisting contours, reseeding native vegetation, and reforestation and habitat restoration, among other requirements.
If you are interested in permitting under the MMLUO, or have questions concerning the process, the attorneys at Janssen Malloy LLP can assist you.