Mercer Fraser’s permit for a cannabis extraction plant on the Mad River is not dead. It can come back to life any time the political climate is right and the Board of Supervisors chooses to rezone the land from Agriculture to Industrial.
Despite possible pollution of our drinking water, the updated General Plan’s land use designations allow that kind of project in a place that is expected to flood once every 100 years. Can we really know this? We do know that flooding already topped that mark in 1964, and that sea level rise and extreme weather events will continue to worsen, making that mark less and less reliable.
Zoning changes are supposed to plan for the future, not lock in uses of the past. But this Board of Supervisors, rationalizing that the riverbank next to our municipal water intake has been in non-compliant industrial use for generations already, want to bring it into compliance by changing the zoning.
The next elections could change the 4-1 voting block on this Board of Supervisors responsible for this and other rollbacks of environmental protections in our county General Plan.
Let’s vote to rebalance the Board, and improve our chances for keeping the floodplain in Agricultural zoning and having clean water and healthy watersheds.