The Nojoqui Farms project (19LUP-00000-00530) is already approved but not licensed, pending appeal. It is the first in line for licensing, and therefore of the greatest concern. This list of use permits does change at the planning department, so don't worry if it isn't exactly right at the time you write. The list of proposed permits that we know of are: 21LUP-00000-00314, 21LUP-00000-00443, 19CUP-00000-00036, 19LUP-00000-00530 (Nojoqui Farms- approved pending appeal)
Don't forget to sign the petition if you haven't already
SOME WRITING TIPS
State your subject clearly in the email subject line or first sentence of the letter. Stick to just this one issue in the letter. You can link back to Why Ban Cannabis in the Nojoqui Farms Corridor on this website for well-researched specifics if that helps. Personalize the issue and explain how it affects your life and your family's life. Avoid personal attacks, threats of political influence or demands. Explain the relevance of industrial cannabis to the whole of Santa Barbara County, including visitors from outside the county. If you are passionate about the beautiful ecosystems and businesses dependent upon a healthy green Nojoqui Falls Corridor, say so. Use "I" statements and cite your experiences in the Corridor. Add the known use permits being proposed to the Planning Commission. If you are willing, provide your contact information. Remember to thank supervisors for their attention. Keep your letter to one page, or your email to 500 words or less.
Subject: Please Ban Industrial Cannabis in the Beautiful Nojoqui Falls Corridor
Dear Board of Supervisors,
I am the owner/operator of Santa Barbara Blueberries, Executive Director of the Wild Farmlands Foundation, Co-Manager of Restoration Oaks Retreats and the steward of Restoration Oaks Ranch, a mostly wild 955 acre ranch of pristine native oak woodlands and savannahs in the Nojoqui Falls Corridor. We are in Joan Hartmann's District 3.
For the sake of Santa Barbara's future, please use your elected authority to preemptively ban all cannabis sites in the Nojoqui Falls Corridor. As a food grower and an agroecologist, I can detail quite a few reasons why, but I would like to focus on just one issue: water availability in a warming climate. There simply isn't enough groundwater available to support new cannabis sites and continue to support the existing old growth native oak ecosystems, farms, ranches and residents already growing grapes, berries and other foods in the corridor.
Every single drop of water between the top of the Nojoqui Grade and the Santa Ynez River (the Nojoqui Falls Corridor) is from rainfall, which annually recharges the Nojoqui Creek Water Basin. Every new well or new well use taps into the water basin of the entire Nojoqui Falls Corridor, and every year of below average rainfall reduces the total amount of water available for the wells. Whether or not a new cannabis site is using less water than a crop previously grown on the same land is irrelevant: Pumping water out of the ground faster than it is replenished will cause unrecoverable water problems for all present and future life in the Nojoqui Falls Corridor, regardless of past land use. California is in a state of drought emergency. Unless we can guarantee rainfall, we should not increase water usage anywhere that we are completely dependent upon annual rains.
There are at least 4 industrial cannabis projects located in the Nojoqui Falls Corridor currently in front of the planning commission as of the writing of this email, and at least one in discussion ( 21LUP-00000-00314, 21LUP-00000-00443, 19CUP-00000-00036, 19LUP-00000-00530). The commissioners are looking at these sites and approving or disapproving them one at a time, per protocol. This is a slow death by a thousand cuts to everything precious in the Nojoqui Falls Corridor. The constraining element should not be whether or not proposed cannabis sites meet county permitting requirements within the 1,575 acre county cap, but the overall availability of water for a relatively thirsty crop in a small water basin. Many fertile acres of land remain in Santa Barbara County that are not as water-fragile nor as high profile as our spectacular landscapes and unique businesses.
Please ban cannabis in the Nojoqui Falls Corridor.
With Great Respect,
Owner/Operator, Santa Barbara Blueberries
Executive Director, Wild Farmlands Foundation
Co-Manager, Restoration Oaks Retreats
Passionate Steward, Restoration Oaks Ranch