Letter: County should not approve cannabis operation near church – Paso Robles Daily News

Letter to the editor paso robles daily news

To the editor,

–The San Luis Obispo County Planning Department has recommended land use permit approval of a cannabis processing and distribution facility located in Templeton. This cannabis operation will occupy a large existing 11,000 square foot warehouse building located immediately adjacent to the Templeton Life Community Church. The church congregation consists of more than 500 members including many minor children who attend various youth-oriented activities on the church grounds. This cannabis project will be located at 198 Cow Meadow Place Templeton. Approximately 3 blocks off of Ramada Drive.

The SLO County Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the approval of this cannabis project’s county land use permit next Thursday, Jan. 28. The Templeton Area Advisory Group (TAAG) has recommended to the county that the project approval be denied.

TAAG extensively reviewed this project during two TAAG public meetings attended by the project’s property owner/applicant and his representatives, representatives of the church, representatives of the planning department and the general public.

Concerns supporting the denial of this project include the following:

  • The cannabis project is not compatible with the neighboring Templeton area which is located in a Commercial Service zone. No other cannabis projects are located in the area except for a small approved licensed cannabis testing facility the tests minuscule amounts of product that are destroyed following testing.
  • Cannabis processing activity produces substantial cannabis nuisance odor. This project proposal fails to disclose adequate details of the cannabis facility’s proposed cannabis odor mitigation systems intended to prevent cannabis odor detection in the area. SLO County ordinances prohibited the detection cannabis project nuisance odors beyond this project’s property lines. The Life Community Church property line, shared with this project, and building, are located 35 feet from the cannabis facility. Cannabis odor adversely affects people in various ways. Sensitive receptors are people who have increased sensitivity to air pollution or environmental contaminants, such as the elderly, children, people with asthma or other respiratory illnesses, and others who are at a heightened risk of negative health outcomes due to exposure to air pollution. Adverse health reactions to cannabis odor are a common occurrence.
  • SLO County cannabis ordinances require that this facility be setback from neighboring property lines at least 600 feet from what are known as sensitive receptor sites. Sensitive receptors are defined as people by various California laws and codes. Sensitive sites are identified in SLO County cannabis ordinances to include any preschools, schools, daycare centers, libraries, parks, playgrounds, recreation or youth centers, and licensed drug or alcohol recovery and licensed sober living facilities. The SLO County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) identifies additional sensitive sites such as nursing homes, hospitals, and residential dwelling units.
  • Life Community Church plans to establish a daycare-preschool facility and services on its Templeton Church property. Availability of daycare and preschool services are in short supply in our SLO North County area. Unfortunately, the county cannabis ordinance, which requires a minimum 600-foot setback distance from a cannabis processing facility and the property lines of daycare and preschool activities, will prohibit the church from establishing these services on its Templeton property if this cannabis project is approved prior to the Church’s proposed daycare- preschool activities. Obviously, new daycare-preschool services will provide essential childcare services to our Community. This proposed cannabis processing–distribution facility will contribute little, if any, positive benefits to the neighboring North County area.
  • Safety and security are major concerns regarding the processing and distribution cannabis facilities. This proposed operation will process, package, store, and distribute high-value finished cannabis products. SLO County ordinances require the installation and maintenance of extensive security measures for cannabis operations such as this. News reports indicate that cannabis distribution facilities are frequent targets of theft and other serious criminal activities.

The planning commission’s Jan. 28 agenda is available here. This project is agenda item #12. The last item of the hearing. We encourage everyone to write letters of opposition and participate during Thursday’s hearing with public comments via Zoom or by phone. The attached agenda provides instructions for emailing letters to the Planning Commission and participating in the hearing.

Murray Powell
A Templeton Resident and TAAG Board Vice Chair
This letter represents the opinions of the writer, who is a member of the Templeton Area Advisory Group (TAAG) Board. This article was not submitted to TAAG for approval.

Editor’s note: Letters to the editor are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paso Robles Daily News or its staff. We welcome letters from local residents regarding relevant local topics. To submit one, click here.

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