US (CA): Supervisors approve largest proposed cannabis grow in Santa Rita Hills

The largest proposed cannabis operation in the Santa Rita Hills was granted de novo approval by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

In a 4-1 vote, Supervisors approved an 86-acre cannabis operation along Hapgood Road in the Santa Ynez Valley near neighboring Gainey Vineyard and Melville Winery. The project includes about 81 acres of outdoor cultivation and four acres of nursery cultivation, with no on-site processing.

The Board’s stamp of approval comes after a nearly two-year battle on the part of SFS Farms, who initially proposed the project in July 2019. The project was originally approved by the county Planning & Development department in September 2020 but has since been appealed twice by Chad Melville, Ron Melville, and Dan Gainey, who are owners of the neighboring estates.

In February, the project passed through its first appeal process with the county’s Planning Commission, where officials denied the appeal and granted de novo approval after a hearing. This led the Melvilles and Mr. Gainey to file a second appeal, which went before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. 


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