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This second board meeting of 2024 included several presentations – including one from each of the three groups who previously submitted requests for cannabis opt-out zones. There was extensive public comment for all of the cannabis-related items on the agenda.

Here are the notes I took regarding the meeting. Please understand that this is not a comprehensive documentation of discussions and decisions.


Health and Human Services

1.1 Receive a presentation from Health and Human Services Program Manager Jesse Ferguson and Staff Services Analyst Eugenio Tapia-Jensen about the California CalWORKs Outcomes and Accountability Review (Cal-OAR) and the goals and strategies identified during the CalWORKs System Improvement Plan (Cal-SIP). No fiscal impact.

  • This item was postponed to our next meeting.


1.2 Adopt a proclamation of appreciation which recognizes January 2024 as Eligibility Specialist recognition month. No fiscal impact.

  • Tabitha Albers | Program Manager – Eligibility – presented on behalf of the team, sharing details regarding the programs scope and status.
  • The board approved this matter as presented.



  • Comments offered in support of returning to paper ballots. Mentioned Dr. Franks – someone who is actively working with jurisdictions that are considering this type of action. Dr. Franks will be in Trinity County to meet with interested parties.
  • Additional comments were offered in support of returning to paper ballots.
  • Comments were raised regarding issues related to animal control. Mentioned the increase in abandoned dogs throughout the county. Acknowledged that our shelter is overwhelmed. Suggested that the board open a forum that will bring people together to address this matter. Shared that residents have formed the group “Down River Dogs” to assist in the process of addressing these challenges.
  • Request for the board to consider modification/reconsideration of the Trinity Center & Coffee Creek Opt-Outs.




2.1 I. Report from Department Heads

  • No Department Head Reports.


II. Report from County Administrative Officer

  • The Civic + platform was selected as the replacement for NOVUS – the platform used for preparing and managing agendas.
  • The State Budget Report includes some cuts in funding to Counties. More details to follow.
  • Our Mid-Year Budget Review will take place in February. This will be a streamlined and focused review of actual and projected financial data vs. budget.
  • Work continues on the Digital 299 project that includes the roadwork in/near Weaverville.


III. Reports from Members of the Board of Supervisors

  • District 1 | Ric Leutwyler
    • Trinity County Fire Chiefs Association – I am now the alternate representative for this committee. Jill Cox has returned to her previous role as primary representative. I did not attend last week’s meeting.
    • Disaster Council – The chair of the Board of Supervisors is assigned as the chair of the Disaster Council. I attended my first meeting this month.  This meeting brings together representatives from all of the organizations involved in health & safety matters throughout the county. I spoke to a representative of CalOES (California Office of Emergency Services) after the meeting. He indicated that Trinity County sets the standards for Disaster Council meetings – noting the high level of support seen from so many different organizations.
  • Trinity County Community Development Corporation (TCDC)
    • Mountain Biking | Tourism – This group continues to meet regularly as we flesh out priorities and plans. We met last week with CAO | Trent Tuthill and Kyle Warner | Pro Mountain Bike Rider & Spokesperson to discuss plans for attracting more trails & mountain biking-focused tourism. Our time with Kyle was very informative and he already put us in touch with people who can help us move forward.
    • California Jobs First – this important funding opportunity continues to evolve. Our board members are taking active roles in the process to ensure that Trinity County is well-represented and prepared to benefit from this program. We have representation on the Steering Committee, the Economic Development Subcommittee, and the Tourism & Recreation Subcommittee.
    • The McConnell Foundation – we will soon have the opportunity to discuss our plans, priorities, opportunities, and challenges with a McConnell Foundation representative when they visit us here in Trinity County.
    • Lewiston Makes the List – “” – recently released an article “10 Small Towns In California Where You Can Retire For Less Than $2,000 A Month”… and Lewiston is #7 on the list! Click here to read the article.
  • District 2 | Jill Cox
    • US Forest Service – met with Supervisor … Requested that an additional $25,000 be awarded for use with the Bowerman project. Also discussed was the Minersville Boat Ramp Project – offering community support to keep things moving forward. RAC issues were resolved.
    • CalTrans Grant – still seeking letters of support to demonstrate strong community support for this grant request. Shared that a template is available.
    • District 2 Planning Commissioner Role – offered appreciation to former Commissioner Sharp. The position is open for interested parties to submit letters of interest. Planning for a special meeting of the board of supervisors to approve in time for the new commissioner to participate in relevant training.
    • Crosswalk Safety – efforts continue. Invited input regarding ideas and options to be considered.
  • District 3 | Liam Gogan
    • TMC (Trinity Management Council) – Trinity County put forward a counter-proposal and has now received a response. This will be discussed in a TMC meeting on Thursday.
  • District 4 | Heidi Carpenter-Harris
    • NCRP (North Coast Resource Partnership) – participated in a Zoom session with Supervisor Gogan. This included environmental clean-up efforts focused on abandoned illegal cannabis operations
    •  Trinity County Collaborative – met with the recreation committee.
    • Recognition | Tony Lynch – offered thanks and recognition for all the great work that Tony (and others) have been doing on behalf of abandoned animals.
  • District 5 | Dan Frasier
    • CTG CAP (Colusa, Trinity, Glenn Community Action Partnership) – meeting next week.
    • Hazard Trees – still awaiting an update from a US Forest Service representative.


IV. Reports from Ad Hocs:

A. Cannabis Ordinance

  • Our most recent meetings have been focused on developing a prioritized list of proposed changes to our existing ordinances. The board will consider this list during our meeting next week.



  • The board approved all matters on the consent calendar as presented.



4.1 Discuss and receive board direction and prioritization on Cannabis Ordinance update items as outlined in the summary section. Fiscal Impact Unknown, will depend upon direction to staff. Note – this item was discussed after items 4.2 through 4.4.

  • Presentation by Trent Tuthill | CAO
    • The first decision point is whether we should modify our approach to the cannabis ordinance update – choosing to prioritize items vs addressing all components as a whole
    • Shared an update on the timeline and deliverables associated with General Plan efforts. Community Plan public workshops will begin soon and continue for several months. Adoption of the full plan is anticipated late in 2025.
    • We are not asking for decisions regarding each item. Rather we are looking for guidance regarding this prioritized approach.  Noted that the General Plan will be a primary focus and there are resource limitations that must be considered.
  • Public Comment
    • Encouragement to have Stacking on this list of priorities.
    • Encouragement to align distribution of cannabis tax revenues (by area) based on the number of licenses issued in those districts.
    • Questions were raised about the priority associated with the Water Board matter. Feels there should be no change.
    • Suggested buffer zone matter as the top priority.
    • Suggested that the overlay zone/opt-outs be on the list of priorities
    • Agreed that enforcement, noticing periods, and definitions should be on the list of priorities.
    • Suggested adding cannabis-related fines be put back into the program.
    • Request that the public gets informed based on further research on the
    • Another comment that Stacking should be high on the list. Echoed comments about cannabis taxes going to areas that generate the revenues.
    • Encouraged us to emphasize economic development in our priorities and decisions.
    • Suggested prioritization of an audit of the use of cannabis program funds.
    • Suggested that enforcement and notice period should be at the top of list for priorities. Also highlighted opt-outs as a high priority.
    • More support offered for consideration of stacking as a priority. Encouraged us to write clear rules. Open to a moratorium on accepting new permits for cultivation licenses… but not for those who already have applications in place and have invested in the process.
    • Statement that priorities identified in the public workshops are not reflected in this list. Highlighted Stacking and the Fee Study. Encouraged use of a notice period for property owners in proposed opt-out zones. Agrees with 15 day notice period. Enhanced enforcement should also be prioritized.
    • Comment from one of your local youth about wanting a future in farming.
    • Additional comments about public workshop input not being reflected in the priorities listed. Highlighted work on micro-business licenses as a priority. Included Opt-Outs on the list of priorities.
    • Additional comments about micro-business licenses. Sees buffer zones as number 1 priority, then opt-outs, then Stacking.
    • Additional questions about Water Board matters as an issue.  Questioned the need for CCVs – Buffer Zones… since EIR requires mitigation measures, etc. Late fee for license renewals – suggested looking at the State (DCC) approach. Opposed to Opt-Outs unless based on land use. Agreed with enhanced enforcement. Suggested having a standardized noticing period for all types of permits/licenses. Suggested looking at personal/medical cultivation regulations.
    • Agreement with priorities shared by the last few speakers.
    • Noted that comments make it clear that we all care about our communities. Asked that staff be supported with the resources needed to implement the program well. Shared that we are seen as national leaders regarding the effectiveness of our program.
  • Board Discussion
    • Supervisor Frasier acknowledged concerns about what was not on the list… clarifying that we will still be moving forward with items that are not on the priority list… and that this was an attempt to address items that may have more urgency and might be addressed more quickly than others.
    • Cannabis Division Director | Drew Plebani – noted that Minter Harnish did share the buffer zone item as a priority from their perspective.
    • Supervisor Cox – raised questions about the timing associated with addressing these priorities. CAO Tuthill clarified that we would be moving forward addressing priorities as we can… and wouldn’t necessarily be taking them one at a time.
    • Supervisor Leutwyler – shared background information regarding the reasons for prioritizing the items on the list. For example, Stacking (for which a lot of work has already been done) is not on the list since this would add to the existing backlog of applications being worked on by staff. Enhanced Enforcement is on the list to help address concerns like those shared today. Late Fees are on the list because some applicants are waiting months to pick up their approved application – which delays the county being paid for the work already done in processing their application.
    • The board discussed different priorities for the items on the list.
    • The board reached a consensus on moving forward with the list as presented.


Presentations Regarding Cannabis Opt-Out Requests

  • These presentations were an opportunity for the groups that have submitted opt-out requests to bring these matters forward for public and board consideration. Board discussion took place after the board heard from the presenters and the public. Notes from the presentations and related public comments are included below.
  • Board Discussion
    • Supervisor Carpenter-Harris acknowledged the efforts made my the groups who presented these Opt-Out requests. She acknowledged all of the input received and shared her concerns regarding the negative impacts that have been shared today. Offered hope that we will find away forward that leads to healing and unity.
    • Supervisor Cox acknowledged many inconsistencies reflected by the input we received today. Highlighted the importance of doing our homework before taking further action.
  • The board chose to delay public consideration of the opt-out requests until they can meet with County Counsel to receive legal guidance by County Counsel. This matter is tentatively scheduled to be back for public board deliberation during our second meeting in February.

4.2 Receive a presentation from the East Branch Property Owners opt out request and discuss the request from October 8, 2021. No fiscal impact.

  • Presentation
    • Comments shared that the map included in the backup materials should extend to the end of the private road in this area. Shared concerns that water is a major concern in this area – noting that the creek in this area is small and important to the environment. Additional reasons, such as impact on the private road from commercial operations using the road.
    • No illegal cultivation was noticed.  No licensed operations
    • After public comment – reiterated water concerns
  • Public Comment
    • Comments that the EIR and CEQA components of our process would address environmental concerns. Explained that zoning in the area would prohibit the type of operation that was noted as a potential concern. Statement that cannabis program funds should not be used for processing opt-out zone requests.
    • Comments that our Programmatic EIR does allow for opt-outs… but specific CEQA guidelines are supposed to be used as each opt-out request is handled as a separate project. Shared that petitioners appear to not understand the requirements/limitations placed on licensed cannabis operations.
    • Comments shared that all items identified as concerns are addressed in program requirements (EIR, CEQA, etc.).
    • Someone who lives in an existing Opt-Out Zone shared that the lack of updates to the General Plan and Cannabis Program Ordinances… meaning that local communities have not had the opportunity to weigh in. Noted that they are still dealing with complaints regarding lights, odor, etc.
    • Someone who lives in the proposed Opt-Out Zone asked if this process would impact his exiting Water Board rights to draw water out of the creek.
    • Suggestion that rezoning and/or establishment of a homeowners association could address these issues.

4.3 Receive a presentation from the Hetten Valley Property Owners opt out request and discuss the request from September 17, 2020. Unknown financial impact. Will depend upon direction to staff.

  • Presentation
    • Sixth-generation resident in the area. Teacher, Volunteer Fire Fighter… Concern was shared regarding the apparent lack of concern for the land by some in the area. Noted that a board resolution can be used to establish an opt-out area. Indicated that approximately 70% of the property owners are in support of the Opt-Out request. Noted land use concerns related to water quantity and quality. Noted that this area is identified as being a low groundwater area in the EIR.  The recent history of wells going dry makes it clear that water is limited in this area. Shared that the valley is both a sensitive and historic site. Shared information about ties of this land to specific plants. Concerns were shared regarding the impact on the limited power supply, lack of law enforcement resources, etc.  Noted that there are over 10 sites that have been damaged.  Highlighted one cultivator as a “good neighbor.” Shared incidents from previous cannabis operations. Concern about lack of resources to monitor licensed operations.
  • Public Comment
    • Comments that regulated cannabis would limit/prevent many of the concerns shared by the presenter.  Shared that we have already “opted out” of illegal cannabis… and should rely on the program to ensure that future cannabis operations do not have the kind of impacts described by the presenter.
    • Comments offered that acknowledged the devastating impacts of illegal operations.  Shared that regular monitoring by the State and County directly addresses concerns like those shared in the presentation and backup material.  Shared that water matters are tightly regulated and access to groundwater is prohibited between April and ___.
    • Comments supporting the presenter and their great job in conveying their issues and concerns. Noted that there are still complaints in Opt-Out Zones where licensed operations have been grandfathered into the program. Highlighted the ongoing concerns related to odor.
    • Comments shared that the original intent was for communities to weigh in regarding cultivation in their area… but the process has never been clearly defined/implemented. Asked for full transparency and due process in any consideration of opt-out zones. Shared an estimate that 55% of parcels in Trinity County are already in opt-out zones.
    • Noted apparent confusion between regulated and unregulated cannabis operations.  Suggested a forum in which the program requirements, etc… can be better explained and understood. Raised concerns about “misuse of funds” when program-funded resources are used for opt-out zones.
    • Comments that we should be focused on residents’ ability to influence decisions about how land in their areas is used. Noted that the option of doing this through the General Plan and Community Plans is too far off.  Suggested a ban on licensing cultivation in these areas until the General Plan and Community Plans are finalized.
    • Comments in support of the forum mentioned earlier. Emphasized that general funds should be used if opt-out zones are pursued. Called for people to opt-in to the legal/regulated program.
    • Hyampom resident involved in our program… also a regenerative agriculturist. Shared her commitment to the environment and opposition to the examples presented of treating the lands poorly. Noted the importance of the General Plan update process in addressing issues like these.
    • Comments shared in support of community education regarding program/environmental requirements.  Also highlighted the need for sufficient enforcement resources to address the kinds of issues mentioned by the presenter.
    • A licensed cultivator in the area shared concerns regarding the issues described by the presenter… and noted that his approach is the antithesis of what has been described.  Shared concerns that if an Opt-Out Zone is created he might not be able to transfer his license upon retirement – which would mean the loss of equity/retirement plan. Noted that his property has great water from multiple sources.
    • Comments shared that considering Opt-Outs in the middle of the ordinance update process (rather than dealing with it via related ordinance update discussions). Echoed comments that environmental concerns are addressed by the program requirements. Suggested postponing this until the ordinance update process is completed.


4.4 Receive a presentation from the Lewiston area Mountain View and Wilson Road Property Owners opt out request and discuss the request from October 5, 2021. No fiscal impact.

  • Presentation
    • Began this process in June of 2020.  Went door-to-door and gathered petition signatures. Over 70% signed the petition. 21% did not respond.  Submitted their request in October of 2021.  Two additional licensed operations were approved while the petition/request was in the hands of the county.
    • Comments shared that she chose Trinity County as a place to live because of things like clean air, lack of traffic, quiet, etc. Reported that she now comes home to generator noise, dust from increased road traffic, etc. Feels that they did everything they were supposed to… but nothing has been done. Feels commercial cannabis operations are not a good fit for their community.
    • Comments shared that cannabis operations should not be allowed in areas in which they cause negative impacts on the neighborhood.  Shared concerns about problems they are experiencing – including safety concerns. Provided examples including reckless driving. Tied these experiences to the licensed cultivators.
  • Public Comment
    • Comments that regulated operators are subject to enforcement. Shared that having contiguous Opt-Out Zones can cause more densely crowded cultivation – which has its own negative environmental impacts.  Shared that water use must be reported. He noted that he is the most dense area of regulated cultivation and there are no water issues.
    • Comments that more enforcement (and resources to support it) seem to be the key.
    • Comments in support of the women who presented and their strong role in the community. Noted that enforcement is the answer to many of the issues. Emphasized the importance of grandfathering in licensed cultivators. Stated that Opt-Outs are not the way to address the concerns that were shared.
    • Comments noting that the ability to transfer licenses is protected in her opt-out area. Shared concerns that current enforcement efforts are insufficient.
    • Comments about the earlier days in which opt-outs were created and noted that Hayfork opted back in.  Shared view that Coffee Creek may want to opt back in. Supported criteria that have been discussed regarding Overlay Zones (via the ordinance update process). Suggested consideration of a term on opt-outs – to be reconsidered after a specified amount of time.
    • Comments shared that, while mitigation plans are required, implementation of these mitigation plans is not required unless/until there are complaints. When required, the mitigation plans go in stages… and additional complaints are required before additional/next steps are taken.
    • Comments that mitigation efforts take place as soon as licensed cultivation begins. Shared that CEQA guidelines must be treated as individual projects – meaning that Opt-Out Zones should not be approved without following this process. Emphasized the potential benefit of greater public education.
    • Comments that some difficulty in determining if problems are from regulated or unregulated operations comes from people taking inappropriate actions before being approved. Damage is often done before the licensing process can work to protect the environment.
    • Comments that grading ordinances in place now would prevent some of the issues being described. Noted that cultivators use different approaches – all are required to stay within program guidelines.
    • Comments that opt-outs are not the answer.  The answer is regulation, education, and a functioning program.
    • Comments shared that we should be focused on the General Plan process. Acknowledges the problems of the past and pointed to the benefits of having cultivators in the licensed program. Called for us to look for solutions other than Opt-Out Zones.
    • Shared encouragement to rely on the ordinance update process. Shared a view that most complaints seem to come from unlicensed cultivators… yet are held against those working effectively within the program. Shared view that our process is/can be effective if we let it play out.
    • Encouraged the board to focus on regenerative approaches that set the standard for other counties.
    • Encouraged the board to acknowledge the pre-existing farms who have taken all the steps to comply with our program in any decisions – with the focus on protecting their investment.
    • Comments in support of potential Opt-Out Zones being treated as individual CEQA projects.
    • Encouragement for Opt-Outs and Opt-Ins to be addressed during the ordinance update process.
    • Shared that “community choice” should be recognized. Feels that our General Plan and Community Plans should be the driver – and that absent current plans, Opt-Out Zones are the only tools available to residents. Suggested acting upon these requests and/or prohibiting new licenses in the areas represented by these requests.
    • Shared that enforcement be enhanced and that we look at how the EIR speaks to the establishment of Opt-Out Zones.


Human Resources

4.5 Pursuant to Trinity County Code Section 2.60.410(A) authorize hiring Candidate No. 45852626 as a Deputy Sheriff II at Range S145 Step E in the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. Approximate cost in salary and benefits per month for a Full Time Deputy Sheriff II at A step is $7,479 and at E step is $8.763.

    • Trent Tuthill | CAO – presented the matter. This is for someone who is returning to Trinity County and this department.
    • The board approved this matter as presented.

4.6 Pursuant to Trinity County Code Section 2.60.410(A) authorize hiring Candidate No. 1592490 as a Principal Civil Engineer at Range M259 Step G in the Department of Transportation. Approximate cost in salary and benefits per month for a Part-Time, Non-Benefitted Principal Civil Engineer at A step is $11,199 and at G step is $14,994.

    • Trent Tuthill | CAO – presented this matter. The person in this role will work on DOT items and on CD Hall deliverables that are required to keep this initiative moving forward.
    • The board approved this matter as presented.


4.7 Take the following actions in the Probation Department:

1. Approve the job descriptions, set the salary range and add to the alphabetical listing of classifications a Deputy Chief/Assistant Chief Probation Officer at range O248, Program Facilitator I at range G149 and Program Facilitator II at range G159; effective Jan 01, 2024.

2. Modify the departmental listing of allocations for the Probation Department to add 1 Deputy Chief Probation Officer, 1 Deputy Chief/Assistant Chief Probation Officer, andreplace Probation Corrections Counselor I/II with Program Facilitator I/II; effective Jan 01, 2024.

3. Pursuant to Trinity County Code Section 2.60.420, reclassify Employee ID No. 00887 from an Assistant Chief Probation Officer to a Deputy Chief/Assistant Chief Probation Officer at step F and reclassify Employee ID No. 02382 from a Supervising Deputy Probation Officer to a Deputy Chief Probation Officer at step B effective Jan 1, 2024; and

4. Delete from the Alphabetical Listing of Classifications and job descriptions the Assistant Chief Probation Officer upon incumbent’s retirement, Supervising Deputy Probation Officer effective Jan 01, 2024, and Probation Corrections Counselor I/II effective Jan 01, 2024.

Approximate cost in salary and benefits per month for an Assistant Chief Probation Officer at F step is $18,458; for a Deputy Chief Probation Officer at F step is $18,458; for a Supervising Deputy Probation Officer at E step is $14,110; for a Deputy Chief Probation Officer at B step is $15,373; for a Program Facilitator I at A step is $4,505 and for a Program Facilitator II at A step is $4,879.

  • Ruby Fiero | Chief Probation Officer – presented this matter. This is an effort to strengthen the organizational structure. This involves flattening the organizational structure. The union supports this approach. This will also allow us to bring people into the department that will provide key services without requiring them to meet the Peace Officer requirements/obligations.
  • The board approved this matter as presented.


Planning and Zoning

4.8 Waive the reading of and enact an ordinance amending Trinity County Code Section 16.10.010 (D) pertaining to Designation of the Subdivision Review Committee, introduced January 3, 2024. No fiscal impact.

  • Bella Hedtke | Planner – presented this matter.
  • The board approved this matter as presented.



5.1 Government Code Section 54954.5(f) – Conference with Labor Negotiators County’s Designated Representatives: Margaret Long, Laila Cassis and Suzie Hawkins Employee Organizations: Deputy Sheriff’s Association and HHS Unit

  • Direction given to staff



Sharing Information  |  Encouraging Engagement


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