Santa Paula Planning Commission First Industrial Hemp Processing in County


By Sheryl Hamlin

The Santa Paula Planning Commission approved the first industrial hemp processing facility in the county at the February 25, 2020 meeting.

Site and Facility

The applicant plans a state-of-the art industrial hemp processing facility at 1574 Lemonwood Drive and business support services at 1580 Lemonwood, both locations contain existing buildings permitted in 2014 for an engineering firm (Applied Silicone/Clearwater) who never occupied the facility nor have they paid the outstanding fees for that project. These fees must be paid in full prior to the final inspection, per the staff report. Note the owners of the building are the Winn Family Trust.


Aerial View of Project, source: staff report


1574 Lemonwood, source: staff report


1580 Lemonwood, source: staff report


Lemonwood Driveway, source: staff report

Processing the Hemp

The initial hemp for the facility will come from a farm in Fillmore. The processing facility is gated. The facility is an enclosed room with air processing equipment and exhaust vents with charcoal filters. The staff report describes the delivery as follows: “hemp would arrive on-site in breathable nylon bags stored within closed-shell refrigeration trucking containers, known as “refers”. All bagged hemp would remain in the refer until offloaded for processing; no hemp would remain outside exposed to the elements. Once transferred inside the factory, the bags would be opened and hemp fed into the processing machinery.”

To understand the processing, click the link following for a description from the equipment vendor CapnaSystems in Sylmar

The applicant states that deliveries will be limited to: ethanol, biomass and waste removal. The ethanol arrives bi-weekly, the biomass will be delivered from the applicant’s farm in Fillmore and the waste removal is bi-weekly.

Also the from the staff report: “ the ethanol cannabidiol extraction process is a closed loop system, dramatically reducing the emittance of any aerosol ethanol”. It is because of the use of the ethanol that the CUP is required. </p

Products

The main product is CBD oil to be sold to wholesalers. The secondary product are the flowers which will be bagged and sold to wholesalers. The applicant hopes for future expansion into fiber and cellulose using the remains of the processing, which will consume most of the processing waste.

Conditions of Approval

There are 92 Conditions of Approval and a 2% fee paid quarterly on the gross sales of process goods and manufactured goods

The Applicant

Richard Baron has been a resident of Ventura County since 1971 where he attended and taught at Ventura College from 1977 to 1981. Subsequently he was President of Baron Brothers Nursery which he established in 1979 with sustainable farming operations in Fillmore, Moorpartk, Camarillo and Somis. Previously he was President of Baron Brothers Inc which was a licensed research farmer for Industrial Hemp and is currently a registered Seed Breeder, Grower and Producer and Seed Seller with a COA compliant Hemp Plant.

Charles Lupo graduated with a BS in Chemistry from Indiana University in 2009 with over 7 years of peptide and amino acid organic chemistry involving but not limited to dillutions, extractions, remediations, distillations at Midwesat Midwest Biotech Inc

Discussion

Commissioner Ikerd asked about the different plants. The applicant, Mr. Baron, responded by citing different characteristics. For example, he said, that in the 18th century a long stemmed hemp was prized for rope making and sail production. Hemp is a 60 day crop which means that it can be harvested every 60 days and replanted.

Commisioner Fourage asked what guarantees are there that the smell will not carry?

The applicant responded that the trucks will deliver inside where there is an HVAC system. The plant sits next to a river and a rock quarry, so should not affect.

Planner Doberneck introduced two staff members from the Agricultural Commission, who discussed testing.

Public Comments

Anita Pulido said that she was on the committee to discourage cannabis in Santa Paula. She asked how to differentiate between hemp and cannabis? She also asked if this would discourage buyers in East Area 1.

Director Mason responded that the CoA regulate and provide opportunities to check and revise, also the “clean room” process like cosmetics or food production was designed to filter/remove odor.

Mary Ann Krause, said she had not a lot of concern, but she wanted to point out that she lives more than two miles from a hemp field and gets headaches and suggested a condition for an odor measurement a specific number of feet from the plant which is physically tested.

Commission Discussion

The commission discussed ethanol, odor and propane. Director Mason suggested adding a condition that “all storage must be contained”. However, Planner Douglas who was present for the General Plan update, said an odor ordinance exists already in the Municipal Code. Commissioner Fourage suggested an odor test after one year and thereafter. Commisioner Herber asked how expensive would such a test be.

Commissioner Ikerd said this was a sophisticated facility and Mr. Baron had found just the right facility. As a horticulturalist, Commissioner Ikerd felt Mr. Baron would “do the right thing”. This plant might be a long term industry for Santa Paula making CGD oil widely sold. Along with the potential sales of the biomass by-products, this business could grow. We don’t have a metric now for air quality. He said he is excited about the project and suggested going forward.

Motion and Two New Conditions

Two new conditions were added: containment of deliveries and testing after initial operation starts.

The motion with new conditions passed unanimously.

To read the detailed staff report, click here.

Ironically, this was the same site that former City Manager Rock had chosen for the Police Department. Read about that here.

To read about the author, click here: sherylhamlin dot com


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2 Responses to Santa Paula Planning Commission First Industrial Hemp Processing in County

  1. Patty February 28, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    When do they plan on looking for applications?

    Reply
  2. Frank lovio sr. February 27, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Get over it , we need jobs and this city needs to do more to encourage companies to come to this dying town.

    Reply

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