Zoning, Setbacks and Land Use. Will you be left behind?

The Nevada County Community Advisory Group will consider zoning, setbacks and land use at its next meeting

NEVADA CITY — What size garden will you be able to cultivate in Nevada County? And in what size parcel? Where will your garden be located on your property? These are some of the most important questions farmers face about the future of cultivation in Nevada County, and they will be discussed at the next Community Advisory Group, or CAG, meeting Tuesday June 27.

On the agenda is a review of Land Use and Zoning concepts, a review of Land Use and Zoning issues related to cannabis cultivation in the county, a review and discussion of current land use and zoning parameters for cultivation areas in the county and identification of potential adjustments, according to the agenda sent to CAG members.

It is unclear exactly what that means since there are no backup materials accompanying the agenda. But if we have learned anything from other counties, it is how important is to get the zoning and setbacks right when writing a cultivation ordinance, so farmers don’t get left behind and they can be encouraged to enter the permitting process with ease.

Here is a map of Western Nevada County Zoning Boundaries and Designations

Here is a map of Eastern Nevada County Zoning Boundaries and Designations

The CAG, as it is now known, is a group of 16 community members picked to develop recommendations for a permanent cannabis cultivation ordinance to the the Board of Supervisors. They will meet five more times before drafting a document county staff can turn into policy by March of 2018.

Under the interim ordinance enacted after Measure W was defeated, setbacks render most parcels in Nevada County unusable for cultivation, making the interim ordinance a defacto ban. Setbacks should be measured from the neighboring residence as it was in previous county ordinances, and not from the property line.

Zoning is the next big issue. If the county decides to strike Residential Ag zoning from the list of other zoning areas where cultivation would be permitted, for example, it could effectively disenfranchised a large population of growers who have run collectives or farm their own medicine on their farms until now.

“This is likely the most important issue the CAG will discuss throughout the summer,” said Diana Gamzon, director of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance. “Here at the Alliance we have advocated for patients and the industry since before we opened our doors. But if people don’t come out and express what they would like to see here in Nevada County, then our chances of getting the kind of ordinance we would like to see greatly diminishes. Our collective voices need to be heard.”

Gamzon said the cannabis community’s involvement will be key to efficiently create a pathway to regulation and urges the public to provide their input during the public comment section of the meeting, or submit them to CAGmeetingcomments@migcom.com

Here is a Cultivation Size Comparison Chart:

Cultivation Size Comparison1