Anyone can become a member of the Bennett Valley Community Association.
By Craig S. Harrison, BVCA President
The Board of Supervisors has adopted a Cannabis Tax Ordinance and Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance which takes effect on January 20, 2017. It forbids commercial cultivation on Rural Residential- and Agricultural Residential-zoned parcels and directs cultivation to agricultural- and industrial- zoned areas, with limited options in the resource districts.
For parcels where cultivation is allowed, a permit is required which will be issued to a person and must be renewed annually. The permit process requires notification to owners of neighboring parcels who may object to the permit. The BVCA will request that it be notified in order to enable notification to the broader community.
Personal cultivation is allowed under the recently-approved Proposition 64 which is limited to no more than 100 square feet per residence, of which up to 6 plants can be cultivated for adult use (non-medical) purposes. No permit or registry is now required but may be considered in the future to thwart illegal commercial cultivation occurring under the guise of personal use.
Posted below are maps showing the zoning in the Bennett Valley Area Plan and a link to the County's GIS Database so you can lookup the zoning in your area. Bennett Valley has a mix of Diverse Agriculture, Resources and Rural Development, and Rural Residential. To learn whether a parcel’s owner can apply for a permit for commercial cultivation you must determine the parcel’s zoning.
The Cannabis Tax Ordinance will be considered at a special election on March 7, 2017, and no permits will be issued unless that tax is approved. Permit Sonoma (formerly PRMD) will issue guidance concerning cannabis regulation in the near future which we will post to the BVCA web site when it is available.
See also the Permit Sonoma GIS Map: http://www.sonoma-county.org/prmd/activemap/
Bennett Valley Cellars has applied for a permit to offer small walking tours of its vineyards at 5757 Bennett Valley Road (near Grange Road) with the occasional consumption of wine produced from its vineyards. All visitors will come by van and the tours will operate only during good weather months. These tours will just be an additional stop on tours that already visit Mantanzas Creek Winery.
A more complete description of the project can be found here and notification from the PRMD can be found in the PDFs below.
Owner Luca Zanin encourages anyone with questions or concerns to call him at 707-975-6766
2016 12 28 Bennett Valley Cellars PRMD Early Public Notification Letter
2016 12 28 Bennett Valley Cellars PRMD Application
Wildlife Ecologist Our March Board meeting features Dr. Quinton Martins, a wildlife ecologist with Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), based at the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen. He leads the ACR’s Mountain Lion Project and will join us at 7 PM to discuss the important topic of Living in Mountain Lion Country.
Please join us to learn about the role of mountain lions and other top predators in ecosystems. As the founder and former CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust in South Africa, Dr. Martins will share his experiences of studying and conserving Cape mountain leopards in South Africa and working with big cats elsewhere in the world.
Dr. Martins’ work highlights the manner in which charismatic and iconic apex predators like leopards and mountain lions act as umbrella species, and can lead to broad ecosystem conservation. Details on the trials and tribulations experienced while studying some of the world’s most elusive animals will be shared, along with recounting the significant value in engaging with the public and landowners. Having a passion for conserving mountain cat, Martins, now based at ACR’s Bouverie Preserve, is heading up ACR’s new Mountain Lion Project, an effort to increase scientific and public understanding of these charismatic predators with whom we share our local habitat.
Dr. Martins has over 20 years of field experience in wilderness areas throughout much of Africa, Saudi Arabia and the USA. He began studying predators in 2003, completed his PhD on “The Ecology of Leopards in the Cederberg Mountains, South Africa” and is now considered the world’s leading expert on Cape mountain leopards. He began looking at large mountain cats on a global scale several years ago and has worked with researchers on mountain lions in California and Nevada. He is also a skilled predator trapper and a research associate and fellow at Bristol and Stellenbosch Universities.
Dr. Martins is passionate about the environment and finding innovative ways to conserve it, including generating funds for conservation in a sustainable manner. He has a particular interest in determining the role of predators in the ecosystem and their use as flagship species for broader environmental conservation – connecting people to the environment and finding ways to mitigate conflict between humans and predators. He has a deep reverence for wilderness, rugged mountains and the role nature can play in shaping our lives.
On Thursday, November 19, 2015 Sandi Potter, Ground Water Geologist, and Tennis Wick, director, of the Sonoma County PRMD led a discussion on the impact on Sonoma County well users of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
The bottom line for Bennett Valley residents and agricultural users is that the current act only applies to specific ground water basins and Bennett Valley is not one of them.
Domestic users in the affected basins also are exempt unless they use over 2 acre feet of water per year (this nets out to 1,785 gallons per well per day).
All of the Information presented by the PRMD and more can be found on their website: http://sonomacountygroundwater.org/.
Sandi Potter, Sonoma County's Maanager of Environmental Review and Comprehensive Planning presented the following materials on the Riparian Corridor protections in the County General Plan at July BVCA meeting on July 17th.
See also the PRMD website: http://www.sonoma-county.org/prmd/docs/riparian_corridor/
11-24-2014 PRMD ORD13-0002 ADOPTED ORD Exh AB_final 11-24-14
Dear Bennett Valley Residents,
If you wish to continue to receive the Bennett Valley Community Association (BVCA) VOICE on paper by USPS mail, we encourage you to join the BVCA and support our community organization. The dues are only $25.00/year per household for a mailed copy, $20.00/year per household for an Emailed copy.
We will no longer be sending the paper VOICE by USPS mail starting with the November 2014. We can no longer afford to pay $1.00 per issue to print and mail the VOICE to non-members.
We will continue to send the VOICE by email regardless of membership status.
To become a member you can send a check for either $20.00 or $25.00 to BVCA at Bennett Valley Community Association, P.O. Box 2666, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 or go here to pay with a debit or credit card.
You can also go here on our website to subscribe via email and (we hope) join.
For any questions, please call our BVCA Membership Coordinator, Larissa Goliti, at 578-3453.
Backroads, a company that provides biking vacations in Sonoma County, has written county officials asking that the county improve the condition of Sonoma Mountain Road. You can read that letter here.