City of Goleta appeals cannabis cultivation project approved in Santa Barbara County

The City of Goleta appealed a Santa Barbara County-approved cannabis cultivation site, delaying the forward motion of the project.

Santa Barbara County approved the 17-acre White Light Cannabis Cultivation Project September 16. The site is located just outside of the Goleta city limits near the Winchester Canyon Road neighborhood.

The City of Goleta appealed the project after it was approved, citing concerns related to potential well water hazards, odor and environmental impact.

In a statement, Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said, in part:

‘A cannabis cultivation project has no place near a residential neighborhood without adequate safeguards and environmental review.’

Chris Schmuckal is the main planner for the project. He said the project began the approval process after it was proposed in 2019.

“Cannabis has its own specific requirements in our ordinance so we went through our Land Use and Development Code to make sure that the project met all of those requirements,” Schmuckal said.

Joseph Dargel is a supervising planner with Santa Barbara County and supervises the Cannabis Permitting Team. He said, because cannabis is a highly-regulated industry, projects like this go through a fairly rigorous approval process. Dargel said planning staff believe it is consistent with development standards.

According to Dargel, appeals are very common on cannabis projects due to their controversial nature. He said odor is often cited by local communities as a concern.

Dargel said three appeals were submitted for this project and are currently being reviewed.

“We are going to draft a staff report that fully addresses and responds to each of the appeal issues,” Dargel said. “That will be presented to our County Planning Commission for them to review and analyze the recommendations that we bring.”

Dargel said the project will still move forward unless the appeal concerns are found to be inconsistent with development standards.

A date has not been set for the planning commission to hear the staff’s review of the appeals.


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