As many of you have probably heard, Nevada County’s permanent cultivation ordinance was delayed while the County completes necessary environmental reviews. This process will take time, so a limited number of temporary permits are probably the best we are getting this season. To recap how we got here, four Board members recently voted to allow up to 100 temporary commercial cultivation permits this year in zones approved for the future commercial ordinance, but only under the restrictions found in the current urgency ordinance.
In other words,
Nevada County will likely issue temporary local permits for up to 25 plants and/or 1,000 square feet on the largest 20+ acre parcels, in AE, AG, and FR zones this season. A smaller plant/square footage may be allowed on smaller parcels, depending on the zone. The temporary permits are aimed at allowing cultivators on select parcels to get a foot into the state-regulated market, but only under the limited plant and square footage allowances found in the current urgency ordinance.
We know this is not ideal for most folks and we share your concerns. Please feel free to call us if you want to discuss whether you will be eligible for a temporary permit in Nevada County.
do decide to seek temporary permitting this season, you will need to enroll for water board coverage as part of your annual state license application. The good news is, if you fall into the low-risk category and your cultivation site is under 2,000 square feet (which all temporary permit sites will be), you will probably be “conditionally exempt” from water board fees!
However, you will need to apply for coverage and pay the application fee, but most of the application fee should be
refunded to you if you ask them to, once the water board confirms that you are “conditionally exempt.” Almost everyone in this season’s temporary permitting program will be “conditionally exempt” except for those in the moderate or high-risk categories.
Our water consultant will begin helping those clients who want to enroll for water board coverage as soon as we have a better idea of what the temporary ordinance will look like, so you can have your Notice of Applicability ready when it comes time for state licensing. Our consultant has a limited number of slots open to draft the required site plans and walk farmers through water board enrollment.
**If you have already taken one of the slots and are waiting for the consultant to reach out, you can expect him to contact you in early June, as the County’s temporary permit process takes shape.
Two final notes:
We’ll send out another blog in late May with a detailed analysis of the temporary permit program, including pros and cons, so keep a look out for that. Please also let me know if there is something our firm can be doing to help the current situation, such as doing more public outreach or hosting additional free seminars. We want to support our farmers however possible, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a good idea. We’re in this with you.
Much respect, Heather Burke and Sarah Smale