Hartmann was critical of the process the county uses for verifying water rights and adequacy, the difficulty the public might have in understanding the odor control complaint process and the apparently illegal expansion of cultivation on the site as a legal nonconforming use.
“Given that I, too, look on this operation from my home, I have to comment on legal nonconforming [use] … it has expanded tremendously from the footprint it originally had and expanded tremendously from medical to retail,” Hartmann said.
“And that, to me, is certainly not what we intended and it cannot go unremarked,” she said, adding, “I don’t know what we can do about it.”
But her reason for withholding her vote was based on the potential concentration of cannabis cultivation in the Santa Rita Hills from project applications that are already in the permitting pipeline, which she called “untenable.”
“I have a great deal of difficulty in adding to this without knowing what’s coming,” she said, noting her inclination would be to abstain in the vote, which she said she had never done.
Other supervisors expressed a few concerns about the project but generally praised applicant John DeFriel for his efforts to respond to opponents’ complaints, primarily concerning odor control, as well as Marc Chytilo, representing the appellants, for raising certain issues, particularly about water.
Supervisors said their combined efforts resulted in a better project.
“Considering all the scrutiny this project has deservedly gotten — it’s a big project in a sensitive area — I’m prepared to support the project,” 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart said.