Sharing Information  |  Encouraging Engagement


There were several presentations on this agenda – a U.S. Forest Service Update, an update regarding Conflict of Interest from County Counsel, and a proclamation regarding Social Work Appreciation Month. Reports were provided by our Sheriff, CAO, Supervisors, and our two Ad Hoc Committees. Two items were pulled from the Consent Calendar for discussion and review. There was a Public Hearing and an Appeal Hearing. The agenda also included two Closed Session agenda items.

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


Clerk of the Board

1.1 Receive an update from U.S. Forest Service representatives regarding matters of interest in Trinity County.

  • Tara Jones | US Forest Service
    • $34 million budget confirmed… one of the most funded landscapes
    • $1.5 million planned, in addition to the previously approved $1.4 million, as part of our Good Neighbor Agreement
    • Recreation – active with RCD on trails, etc. Campgrounds have also been receiving attention (joint operations). Work near boat ramps has taken place as well.
    • Planning efforts continue for Bowerman, Hyampom, and more.
    • School District – working with the schools on programs… including the use of goats for vegetation control
    • Storm Patrols are working to identify and report storm-related damage.
    • Fairview Boat Ramp – some issues were identified during the meeting.

County Counsel

1.2 Receive a presentation from County Counsel on different types of Conflicts of Interest.

  • Refresher – this presentation was a refresher to materials that all supervisors are required to review
  • Advice – County Counsel can not provide individual supervisors advice regarding conflict of interest
  • Political Reform Act – focused on things sufficiently likely to have an important financial impact.
    • Is the financial interest “reasonably foreseeable?”
    • Is it material?
    • Is the effect on the official different than on the “public generally”
  • Public Officials – every member, officer, employee, or consultant of a state or local government agency
  • FPPC – she recommends writing to the FPPC for guidance in the form of a formal opinion
  • Financial Interests
    • Personal finances, and finances of immediate family member (spouse/partner/dependent child)
    • Business entity of $2,000 or more
    • Real property valued at $2,000 or more
    • Source of income of $500 or more in the past 12 months
  • Reasonably Foreseeable
  • Material
    • Generally means “important enough to matter”
    • “A reasonably prudent person” would conclude the decision would change the value…
  • Materiality Real Property Interests
    • 500’ or less – presumed to be a conflict…
    • 500’ to 1,000’…
    • 1,000′ + – presumed to not be a conflict
  • Effect Public Generally
    • The effect on the official is different than on the “public generally” or “significant segment” is defined as at least 25% of:
      • All businesses or nonprofit entities in the jurisdiction
      • No disproportionate…
  • What to do if in conflict
    • Disclose and get out, unless…
      • You can participate as a member of the public if:
        • You have wholly owned real property is affected
        • You have wholly owned business entity is affected
        • You are he sole director of affected business
  • Common Law
    • Prohibits officials acting in their own interests at the expense of the public’s interest
    • Perceptions vs Requirements
      • We lean toward being over-cautious
      • Personal opinion does not mean you have a conflict
  • 1090 Violation
    • You shall not bear financially interested in any contract made in your official capacity, or by any body or board of which you are a member.
    • FPPC Steps:
      • Is the public official in question subject to the provision of section 1090
      • Does the decision at issue involve a contract
      • Is the official making or participating …
        • Negotiations, discussions, reasoning, planning, etc.
      • Remote Interest…
        • Government Code section 1091 lists more than a dozen types of remote interests.
        • The board member must disclose the financial interest to the board, and disqualify…
      • Rule of Necessity
        • Allows an agency to acquire an essential supply or service… when there is no other way to get the service
    • Impact if conflict found:
      • The contract can be found to be void and unenforceable
      • The official must disgorge any money
      • Violation is a felony (fine, imprisonment, lifetime ban from public office)
  • Revolving Door
    • After leaving office – there is a one year ban if you are being compensated for appearing before the board.

Health and Human Services

1.3 Adopt a proclamation of appreciation which recognizes March 2024 as Social Work Appreciation Month.

  • The board approved this matter as presented. The proclamation was presented to members of our Health & Human Services team.
  • Recognition was offered for our local athletes – acknowledging the strong success of our youth this season. Emphasized the value of these activities to our youth and to our community.
  • An issue was raised regarding the District 2 election. An individual reportedly is in District 2 but did not receive a ballot and there is disagreement with the elections office regarding the separation between districts in the Browns Ranch Road area.
  • Comments offered in support of the sitting board – stating our current board reflects a marked improvement in the quality of the board. Offered thanks and appreciation for the sitting board.
  • Comments were offered regarding conflict of interest. Noted that information gathered outside of a hearing should be acknowledged before the hearing starts.
  • Comments were offered regarding “carve-outs.” Suggests considering that permits only be offered for properties that have previously had commercial cultivation.
  • Questions were put forward regarding responsibility for tree removal along public roads.

2.1 I. Report from Department Heads

  • Tim Saxon | Sheriff
    • Shared statistics regarding January and February.
    • Two search and rescue callouts – both ended with success in finding the lost individuals. He reminded everyone that that search and rescue participants are all volunteers.
    • Jail Health Medical Services – this year we are experiencing a phenomenal increase in requirements. We have already depleted initial funding.
    • Lewiston Incident – the individual fired at officers (none were hit). Shasta SWAT was invited to assist in this incident. Nobody was harmed.
    • NACO – Supervisor Carpenter-Harris will share the information she received while at NACO that might be of value.

II. Report from County Administrative Officer

  • Trent Tuthill | CAO
    • Public Defender contract expires end of June. RFP has been issued.
    • A $1.8 million grant agreement has been signed by DCC and Trinity County. We clarified how we will use the funds available to the county. Some of these funds can be used to purchase/implement Acela software for program management and cannabis tax collections.
    • Community Plan Workshops – attended the Junction City meeting. The volume of meetings involved in this process can lead to conflicts with other meetings. Efforts are being made to minimize the conflicts. The week of April 8th is targeted for the next round of meetings.
    • Broadband Update – a lot is going on. He is working to arrange a presentation to the board/public
    • Road Work – DOT is very busy with snow removal, and storm-related damage.
    • Recognition – Lisa, a member of the county clerk staff was recognized for her great work.

III. Reports from Members of the Board of Supervisors

  • District 1 | Ric Leutwyler
    • Out of County Travel – Anderson last week for the NoRTEC Board Meeting. Sacramento later this week for CSAC and Sierra Nevada Conservancy Board Meeting.
    • NoRTEC – the board adopted all recommendations from the ad hoc committee – this confirms strategic direction, concrete action steps, and measures of success.
    • Sierra Nevada Conservancy – participated in the pre-board meeting. The voting member role is on a two-year rotation among the four counties sub-regions. Staff is recommending that Trinity County take on the voting member role for 2025 and 2026.
    • Mobile Crisis Stakeholder Meeting – participated in this two-hour workshop that brings together people who are involved in response to crises faced by residents.
    • RCRC Legislative Updates – participated in this virtual gathering in which representatives provide updates regarding key developments of interest and importance to rural counties.
    • Community Plan Workshops – reminding residents that workshops have been scheduled and draft community plans have been published for four communities. There was a strong turnout for the Lewiston Community Plan Workshop last night.
    • New Hire Orientation – participated in last week’s onboarding program for new Trinity County team members.
    • Economic Development – met yesterday to discuss economic development ideas with representatives from Lake County and with GoBiz representatives regarding Community Investment Funds.
    • Trinity Lake Marina – Sara Acridge is working with the permit holder regarding the location of the marina this year.
  • District 2 | Jill Cox
    • No out-of-county travel
    • Committee Meetings – Attended several committee meetings
    • Minersville Board Ramp – Participated in the Minersville Boat Ramp project workshop.
    • Southern Trinity Ambulance – a growing coalition is focused on obtaining funds to support this organization.
  • District 3 | Liam Gogan
    • No out-of-county travel
    • Trinity Lake is 73% to 74% full… with an expectation of reaching 80% this year.
    • Wet Water Year – we will fall into this category for this water year… which translates into high levels of water releases.
  • District 4 | Heidi Carpenter-Harris
    • No out-of-county travel
    • Committee Meetings – Attended several committee meetings
    • Roads Department – Acknowledged the great work by our Trinity County Roads Department in response to storm-related damage.
  • District 5 | Dan Frasier
    • No out-of-county travel
    • Committee Meetings – participated in the Behavioral Health Advisory Council and another that I didn’t capture in my notes.

IV. Reports from Ad Hocs:

A. Cannabis Ordinance

  • Changed the schedule to meet monthly – allowing team members to work more efficiently on updates between meetings.

B. Tribal Relations

  • Working to schedule a presentation from Tribal Representatives
  • Planning to then work on MOUs.

Two items were pulled from the Consent Calendar for discussion.

3.1 Approve a budget adjustment for FY 23/24 for Trinity County Waterworks District  #1 – Dept. 8667 increasing revenues by $2,248 and Services & Supplies by $6,630. No impact to the General Fund; current cash balance in Trinity County Waterworks District # 1 – Fund 667 is $10,44

  • There are two funds. The fund in question is the vehicle for giving this organization its tax revenue. Tax revenue is usually distributed every January and September. The September distribution did not take place.
  • The board approved this matter as presented.

Trinity County Transportation Commission

3.14 Adopt a Resolution of Concurrence to approve the Caltrans District 2 State Route 3 Corridor Plan. No impact to the General Fund.

  • Some comments were provided to Caltrans before the meeting.  All were addressed other than a request for the Norel Muk Wintu Tribe to be mentioned and some concerns to be addressed.
  • CalTrans Representative offered to follow up with Tribal representatives and come back to us at the next board meeting.
  • The board voted to continue this matter to the next meeting.


4.1 Conduct a public hearing to discuss the completion of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) income project that purchased an ambulance for Southern Trinity Ambulance Rescue. No fiscal impact.

  • Ashley Piker | Deputy Clerk of the Board – presented this matter.
  • The board approved this matter as presented.

Board of Supervisors

5.1 Discuss and give direction to Supervisor Cox, as the County designated RCRC representative, the idea of pursuing an amendment to the California Constitution regarding the membership of Senators and Assembly members. No fiscal impact.

  • Supervisor Frasier presented this matter. The objective is to mirror federal representation by ensuring that each county has a representative.
  • No Public Comment
  • Supervisor Cox suggested that Supervisor Frasier reach out to supervisors in other rural counties to determine the level of support. She also indicated that she would research the RCRC Strategic Plan to see how this aligns with established strategies and priorities.
  • The board voted to pursue this matter by starting with Supervisor Frasier’s outreach to RCRC designates to share his reasons and determine if there is interest and support in bringing this to RCRC. The motion included that Supervisor Cox will bring this to RCRC if sufficient support is identified.


5.2 Conduct an appeal hearing to uphold, modify, or overturn the Planning Commission’s decision to deny the appeal of the Director’s decision to approve a Commercial Cannabis License (CCL-771) for 10381 Ruth-Zenia Road, Hettenshaw, CA. (CCL Applicant: Severin Stoyanov, Smoking Green Valley, LLC; Appellant: Phillip Gilman) (Planning File P-23-19). Unknown.

  • Drew Plebani | Cannabis Division Director – presented the matter
    • He explained how the various processes were implemented and agencies were involved – indicating that all requirements for issuing the license were met.
  • Board Questions
    • Supervisor Frasier asked for clarification regarding the scope of the details to be considered by the board in making this decision
    • Director Plebani explained that, based on discussion with county counsel and special counsel, both the CEQA document and the license application are to be considered.
  • Appellant – Philip Gilman
    • Shared that the community has requested an opt-out (in 2020) and that the community opposes the issuance of this license.
    • Shared that Appendix C had been resubmitted in 2023 without public notice
    • Noted that generators are not addressed in the Appendix C document.
    • Noted that land disturbance took place in 2022
    • Noted half-truths and mistruths in the document
    • Noted concerns regarding the impact on water that others rely upon for residential and commercial farming purposes.
    • Noted concern that water storage will not sustain the operation and that the proposed retention pond could cause significant environmental damage.
    • Noted that a previous license was denied due to water-related concerns
    • Shared that cultural sites were identified on this parcel.
    • Noted that limitations related to the archeological report were not respected and that a trench was created through one of the identified areas.
    • Noted odor concerns and referred to the large number of letters sent in response to this matter.
  • Tom Ballanco (for applicant)
    • Noted that this application does meet established requirements
    • Noted that the water use has been permitted and is limited to the wet season
    • Errims- a map that shows water rights. This licensee is the only permit that shows up in this area on this map. Noted that older property rights might exist that are not recorded on this map.
    • Archeological matters – noted the difference between archeological sites (non-unique)and cultural sites. Stated that the licensee has operated within the requirements of CEQA related to archeological sites.
    • Rare Plant (Ketten Flower) – noted the importance of this plant… and the lack of awareness regarding it’s existence and value. Noted this is not an endangered plant nor is it listed in our EIR. Shared that the licensee is not planning to disturb the wetlands where this plant grows. There are no grounds for denying the license concerning this matter.
  • Supervisor Frasier shared that he was contacted by the appellant about how to handle this. He provided direction and then asked to not be included in discussions regarding the details.
  • Public Comment
    • Cultural Resource Officer – noted evidence of changes made just before their site visit. They reached an agreement on how to move forward. Pinned the most sensitive sites, and placed signs. Shared preference for use of above-ground metal pipes to minimize ground disturbance. Asked to be present when future work is done. Noted cooperation by the applicant.
    • Tribal member – licensed for cultural/archeological work. Noted that the site of this application is one of the most culturally sensitive locations in the county. All three knolls that would be crossed and where the greenhouse is proposed are archeological sites. Shared concerns that tribal representatives were not contacted. Lassen Lupin – another rare plant that is on this property.
    • Noted that a huge amount of resources have been invested in this process. Acknowledged the challenges in dealing with the impact of decisions by previous boards. Feels that this application is “patently wrong” – based on its central location in the area. Called for the board to uphold the appeal.
    • Noted the extensive oversight of commercial cannabis operations in California. Called for denying the appeal. Noted that rain catchment is not regulated. Shared that a larger survey should be completed to address cultural site concerns. Noted that mitigation measures beyond what is required have been included in plans. The process led to the recent site visit and discussions regarding how to deal with the cultural site concerns. Noted that the Ketten plant is not listed for protection. Noted that no cultivation has taken place.
    • Stated that the information shared previously about the Ketten plant is not at all accurate. Found inconsistencies in documents. This property is not associated with TPUD. States that no further land disturbance will take place? No engineering was provided for the retention pond. This location is so central to the area that everyone traveling in the area will be impacted by odor, etc.
    • Shared concerns that the appendix c was modified after the appeal was submitted. Questioned why this is allowed. It changes the facts being considered by the board in this quasi-judicial setting. Noted concerns in appellants receiving the information being requested. Shared that she understands staff may have not had the CEQA document when reviewing/approving the license. Shared concern regarding site changes made before the license was approved. Shared concern with delays in processing opt-out requests while licenses are approved.
    • Applicant spoke – indicating he has been following the rules and cooperating with all agencies, etc. Noted efforts to speak with neighbors.
    • Shared concerns about the records being modified after the appeal is submitted… and without notification to appellants. Shared that the new appendix c was not shared with the Planning Commission when they were considering this matter.
    • Shared that there are letters of support, and there is other farming in the area. Noted that everything complies with all agency requirements.
  • Board Questions
    • Pond – why was this not included in Appendix C – so impact was not considered in the CEQA analysis?
      • It is included in the site plan… and a grading plan would be required.
      • The current process doesn’t require this to be included in CEQA.
      • The pond is only for rainwater catchment
    • Appendix C – The appeal didn’t specifically include this. Need a decision by the board regarding whether CEQA documents should be considered first. If the board feels it should be considered… then the board should review the CEQA documents before making a decision.  Review of Appendix C
    • Modification of Records – 17.34 allows for supplemental materials to be included up to the date of the hearing. Confirmed that this was provided when requested.
  • Board Discussion
    • The board decided that the language of appeal was sufficient to trigger board consideration/review of CEQA documents.
    • Motion made to uphold the appeal.
    • Consensus that the appeal language is sufficient to support CEQA documents being considered in this appeal process.
    • The board was asked to consider whether CEQA violations took place… and/or if there are errors or omissions in the documents that make it difficult to have confidence that all CEQA requirements were met.
    • The Water Board did complete a site visit and did not identify violations.
    • CEQA Document Concerns
      • Reference to TPUD is inaccurate.
      • Reference to work only being done on already disturbed land – yet the plans are to grade land for ponds, buildings, etc.
      • Reference to solar (which is a mitigation manner)
      • A concern was shared that this document is insufficient
      • Concern that tribal/cultural concerns were not adequately addressed via this process.
      • Shared that Ketten Lilly is not fully addressed – but this is not included in CEQA’s list of plants.
      • Shared that protection of Tribal Resources is not adequately addressed. There was inadequate involvement of Tribal representatives.
      • The appellant raised sufficient questions regarding environmental/cultural concerns that diminish the validity of the CEQA evaluation/documentation.
      • Comment that many parcels taking advantage of water rights are not registered… and thus, decisions about additional water rights are potentially not fully informed.
    • A statement was made that the pump in the creek was a violation… because it wasn’t allowed by the terms of the plan (LSAA).
    • Changes to the project require an updated LSAA – this has not happened. Referenced State violations.
    • Work on the site in advance of license approval was a violation.
    • Note – photos of potential violations were received after the director approved the license.
    • Retention Pond – The applicant representative stated that this is a safety net component of the plan vs. a critical requirement of moving forward. Staff indicates that the final approved EIR and CEQA document would need to address site development related to the pond. Appendix C does reference the pond, its size, etc.
    • Note that upholding the appeal would mean revoking the license… not preventing it from being issued. A conditional license was issued when the Planning Commission denied the appeal related to this license.
  • The board voted to uphold the appeal – revoking the conditional license that was issued.


5.3 Adopt a resolution authorizing the State of California Cannabis Equity Act Agreement Funding and authorize the County Administrative Officer to execute the grant agreement. Revenue up to $1,812,729.52 to Cannabis Division from Grant Funds.

  • Drew Plebani | Cannabis Division Director
    • Noted that the original documentation referred to the board vs to the CAO.
  • The board approved this matter as presented.

Planning and Zoning

5.4 Waive the reading of and enact an ordinance amending Trinity County Code Section 17.18.060 pertaining to Building Height in the Multi-Family District (R-3), introduced November 7, 2023. No fiscal impact.

  • Mitchell | Planning Department – presented the matter.
  • Public Comment
    • Comments of surprise at the amount of high-density housing areas within Weaverville. Expressed concern about 45’ tall buildings in the high-density housing areas.
  • The board approved this matter as presented.


Closed Session Report Out – notes regarding the outcome of discussions during the most recent Closed Session.

5.1 Government Code Section 54954.5(c) – Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation No of Cases: three Inmate Garbutt; incident at jail. Inmate Swain; incident at jail. Claim TRI23-0017; inmate Lewandowski, incident at jail.

  • No reportable action

5.2 Government Code Section 54954.5(c) – Conference with Legal Counsel – Initiation of Litigation No. of Cases: One (Cannabis Code Enforcement Fine/Fee Settlement Authority)

  • Direction to staff

5.3 Government Code Section 54954.5(f) – Conference with Labor Negotiators County’s Designated Representatives:TBD Employee Organizations: General Unit

  • Appoint Laila, Suzie, Margaret

5.4 Government Code Section 54954.5(e) – Public Employee Appointment: County Counsel.

  • Direction to staff

6.1 Government Code Section 54954.5(e) – Public Employee Appointment: County Counsel.

  • Direction to staff.


6.2 Government Code Section 54954.5(c) – Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation No. of Cases: 1: FTF Farms of Trinity Forests

  • Direction to staff



Sharing Information  |  Encouraging Engagement


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