City Council Eyes Growth Just In Outbuildings

The Elk Grove Planning Commission on Jan. 5 opted to advise the Elk Grove City Council to only allow medical marijuana to be grown indoors within the city.

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Commissioner Brian Villanueva, who along with Chair George Murphey voted against the changes, did not attend the Dec. 15 meeting when the draft ordinance was also discussed but he watched the video of that meeting.

“As I was watching it, I felt like I was watching an attempt to kill a gnat with a sledgehammer,” Villanueva said. “I have concerns about how heavy handed I think this is.”

The commission’s suggested changes to the proposed ordinance include limiting the indoor growing operation to 50 square feet, forbidding cultivation in bedrooms, and requiring ventilation and filtration systems for grow rooms.

Cultivation also cannot occur within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, or public park. That distance and those facilities are similar to the city’s sex offender ordinance. Also, a qualified patient or the primary caregiver must live on site.

Villanueva said the proposed multi-page ordinance is more prohibitive than restrictive.

“It seems to me the objective of an ordinance is to get compliance,” he said. “The goal should be compliance and not turning thumbscrews, and I fear we are turning thumbscrews.”

However, Vice Chair Fedolia “Sparky” Harris said the proposed ordinance follows state law and the “spirit” of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 ( CUA ). He said he only favored indoor cultivation for safety reasons.

“We have people going out there and stealing catalytic converters off of cars so they can mine the precious metals,” Harris said. “How easy is it for someone to look over the fence and see a Tuff Shed with some really fancy ventilation and filtration system on it?”

Harris added, “I know exactly what’s in there, and it’s worth a whole lot more than a catalytic converter, which is going to put people’s family and property at risk. [Indoor growth only] seems like a safer alternative.”

Commissioner Nancy Chaires said the sound of the filtration and ventilation systems used outdoors or in outbuildings to deal with the smell of the marijuana could exceed the city’s maximum level of acceptable noise.

“If we replace a continuous nuisance odor with a continuous nuisance sound, that is not an improvement to me,” Chaires said.

When the Elk Grove City Council on Sept. 28, asked city staff to craft an ordinance for cultivating marijuana for medicinal purposes, council members leaned toward only allowing such operations in outside buildings.

Current Elk Grove Mayor and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Capt. Jim Cooper said at that meeting that he had concerns about fires if the marijuana were grown indoors or outdoors in the open.

Council members said at that meeting that they wanted to restrict cultivation but follow state law. The CUA allows ill Californians who obtain a physician’s approval to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“I say that we strive to have the strictest, most burdensome policy in California,” Council Member Gary Davis said.

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News Hawk – 420 Warrior 420 MAGAZINE
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Source: Elk Grove Citizen
Author: Bryan M. Gold
Copyright: 2012 Herburger Publications
Website: Elk Grove Citizen