Sharing Information  |  Encouraging Engagement


There were two presentations on this agenda – a U.S. Forest Service update from Tara Jones | District Ranger and an update regarding the recently-commissioned Housing Element for the General Plan. The board appointed an Auditor/Controller for the remainder of the current term, approved an amendment to our cannabis ordinance, and provided staff direction regarding response to recently heard requests for commercial cannabis opt-outs.

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.

  • 3,000 acres treated to date. A significant increase and much more is scheduled this year.
  • Meeting monthly with Trinity County Collaborative – field trip coming up soon
  • June 5th – Annual Appreciation BBQ
  • The scoping document for Fire Cameras will be in the Journal this week.
  • 12,500 acres in Hyampom – the project is moving forward.
  • 2,000 to 3,000 acres for the Pilot Project going under contract soon.
  • August Complex Fire Footprint – work continues in this area.
  • Bowerman Project – work will begin soon
  • Campgrounds – working on hazard trees
  • Courtesy docks are scheduled for May 1-17.
  • Trails work – two back county work groups this year. Working with Ascend again this year.
  • The Bigfoot Challenge is now open
  • Dock damage – cables vandalized
  • Year of Implementation – building upon all the planning work done in prior years.
  • Good Neighbor Authority – another $1.5 million investment in the works.
  • Northwest Forest Plan – a public meeting is scheduled for input regarding this document. Nick Goulette | The Watershed Center is part of the panel for this event.
Planning and Zoning

1.2 Receive a presentation from consultant group Mintier Harnish regarding the Housing Element Update. No impact to the General Fund.

  • Jim Harnish | Mintier Harnish
  • Ryan Lester |Project Manager for our Housing Element Update
  • The slide presentation is available online
  • Seven phases to this project – with review and adoption planned for Dec 2024 to Jan 2025
  • This element must be updated on a 4-year schedule. This is tied to the 5-year Regional Transportation Plan.
  • Will show us how we might shift to an 8-year schedule.
  • What a Housing Element does:
    • Identifies current and future housing needs
    • Identifies opportunities and barriers on housing production
    • Establishes an action plan to meet those needs
    •  Updates County practices and regulations to reflect new State laws.
  • Goals
    • Conserving and improving existing affordable housing
    • Maximizing housing opportunities throughout the county
    • Assisting in the provision of affordable housing
    • Removing barriers to housing investment
    • Promoting fair and equal housing opportunities
  • Elements
    • Housing Needs Assessment
    • Constraints Analysis
    • Housing Sites Inventory
    • Policy Document: The Action Plan
    • Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH0
  • Engagement Events – virtual community workshops, stakeholder interviews, planning commission hearing, board of supervisors hearing
    • Virtual Community Workshops do not currently support live interaction
  • Engagement Tools – newsletters, website page, social media, local group engagement, virtual workshops, online surveys, study sessions/hearings. Frequently Asked Questions, etc. will be used to help people understand/engage.
  • Board Discussion
    • Government Response – additional details shared about what this includes. Acknowledged that many constraints are driven by the State.
    • Constraints – we can drive this to go deeper (action plans, etc.). The board can provide direction… including identifying programs that can help us overcome obstacles.
    • Community Engagement – the board provided direction for enhanced opportunities for live community engagement.
    • Additional Components – noted that insurance, etc… are ongoing challenges. These will be addressed in the constraints analysis. These will be part of the site analysis.
    • True Needs – How do we avoid a repeat of the last update that said we only needed one more house? This update will highlight opportunities and requirements… separate from State requirements regarding specific types of housing.
    • Accessory Dwelling Units – this subject will be addressed
    • Low Impact Camping –  would not be included as it is not focused on permanent housing
  • Housing – asked that rental housing be addressed as well. Stated that this is especially challenging in the North Lake area. Asked the board to consider policies that would help balance the use of homes for vacation rental vs long-term rental
  • Recreation – Lee Fong Park is open and available for rentals/events, etc. Four fitness stations and a sand volleyball court are in the works.  Designing covered performance areas. Active disc golf course. Adult co-ed volleyball starting soon. Adding more shade for the community pool. Recruiting lifeguards. June 17th – pool opens.
2.1 I. Report from Department Heads
  • None
II. Report from County Administrative Officer
  • The temporary Housing project kickoff took place this week. There will be multiple opportunities for public engagement regarding findings and plans.
  • The Annual Audit is taking place in the next two weeks.
  • Solid Waste – partnered with CalTrans for free household waste days: Hayfork and Weaverville ….
III. Reports from Members of the Board of Supervisors
  • District 1 | Ric Leutwyler
  • Community Development Workshop on 4.23.24 at Veterans Memorial Hall – 48 people have registered to attend or marked themselves as interested.
  • Water-based Recreation – Sara Acridge working with permit holder regarding operation of the marina in Trinity Center
  • AT&T – shared comments during the last PUC meeting


  • District 2 | Jill Cox
  • NorCal EMS Executive Director – met to discuss the potential of establishing these types of services as “essential service.” Will be attending a …. Meeting
  • Constitutional Change (for enhanced rural representation) – joined by Supervisor Frasier for discussion about this with RCRC General Counsel. Identified two substantial hurdles to this proposal. Supervisor Frasier will “hand off” to other county supervisors who have voiced strong interest.
  • Fire Safe Council – check the RCD website for resources related to address signs.
  • Garden Club – offered a shout-out to this group for their beautification efforts.


  • District 3 | Liam Gogan
  • Hayfork Town Hall Meeting – well attended with lots of questions raised. Senses a divide in the community (due to the close results of the recent election). Will be holding additional meetings to help bring the community together.
  • Oral Heal Advisory Meeting – mobile van will be traveling to schools to offer some forms of free dental care.
  • Hayfork Community Plan Workshop – meeting now scheduled.
  • TMC (Trinity Management Council) – 2 day meeting in Weaverville. Discussed ways to address limited returns of Spring Chinook. Decision to pursue extensive research. Current restoration release will be based on “Very Wet” year. Note – I have since confirmed that this is expected to be a “Wet” year vs a “Extremely Wet” year. The hydro-graphs (showing how/when water would be released) were not approved. This is the first time the TMC has not agreed on a hydro-graph (water release plan) to pass on to the Bureau of Reclamation. The next TMC meeting won’t happen for 3 months… so the BOR will decide absent TMC input. This means we will likely see the typical ROD release plan. County input trying to balance all potential impacts (fish health, economy, power generation, recreation, etc.)


  • District 4 | Heidi Carpenter-Harris – 10:25 AM
  • NCRP – helping with logistics for the meeting in Weaverville later this month.
  • NACO – plans for Amazon to offer satellite-based internet service (like Starlink).
  • TMC – she participated for one and half of the two days of the recent meeting due to a conflict with other County business.
  • Workforce Development Program – meetings regarding conservation workforce efforts focused on rural communities.
  • Insurance – this issue is only growing/worsening.  Encouraged residents to inform their insurance provider of their home-hardening efforts. There is a form online to report this – which generates a small decrease in rates.
  • Insurance Presentation – discussed working to schedule a presentation to the board regarding the efforts underway to address these challenges.


  • District 5 | Dan Frasier
  • North Coast Unified Air Quality Board – primarily discussed biomass plant
  • Colusa Glen Trinity Community Action Partnership Meeting – This took place in Willows, Ca. Trinity County had only 2 of its 6 representatives attend.  This is an 18-member board. We lose our ability to influence board decisions when such a small percentage of our board members attend.


IV. Reports from Ad Hocs:
A. Cannabis Ordinance
  • Decided to push forward with a full update to the cannabis ordinances before the end of this calendar year. This process will include additional public workshops.


b. Tribal Relations
  • Nothing to report.


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



4.1 Receive information from Trinity County elections official on the maps used during the March 2024 election. No impact to the General Fund.

  • Shanna White | Elections Official
    • The boundaries used for the 2022 election were the same ones used for 2024
    • The Trinity County RCD & Dero Forslund were engaged to support this manual process
    • One potential discrepancy was raised that is being pursued.
  • Public Comment
    • Proposes going back to same day and hand counting approach to elections. Shared concerns that illegal immigration could lead to election fraud. Feels that the majority of Trinity County residents would support going back to in-person voting with hand counting
    • Shared that the board of supervisors has the authority to assign election officials. Shared that there were 8 precincts reported for 2024, and there were more for 2022. This is due to consolidation efforts designed to simplify the process and reduce expenses. This consolidation makes it possible to reduce costs by printing fewer versions of the ballot.
      • For example – if Districts 1 and 4 did not have District Supervisor elections… then they could be combined into one version of the ballot.
  • Board Discussion 
    • Asked where mail-in ballots from the downriver area were delivered/counted. The answer – these were combined with the North County area and labeled as North County. She acknowledged that this naming could have been better.
    • Question regarding trends and ability to “go back” to identify trends within precincts that might be missed in consolidation.
    • Consolidation – takes place upfront to reduce the number of ballot versions… which saves money. The exact amount of savings was not available at this time.
    • Acknowledged that naming for one example could have been done better.
    • Acknowledged the benefit of having a breakdown of details to reflect different views/trends within different areas.
    • Consolidation started in 2022. There were 25 precincts before re-districting. There are now 50+ precincts. A change in consolidation (how these 50+ precincts are consolidated) for 2022 and 2024 is what drove the reduction in the number of precincts reported this year.



4.2 Ordinance Amendment: Trinity County Code Section 17.43.050.  Introduce and waive the reading of an ordinance amending Trinity County Code Section 17.43.050 pertaining to Commercial Cannabis Cultivation Regulations.

  • Drew Plebani | Cannabis Division Director
    • This amendment addresses the temporary board-approved streamlining of renewals. It would also apply to new applications
    • This replaces the CCV (commercial cannabis variance) approach with a buffer reduction approach.
    • This introduces an “opposition letter” approach that allows adjoining parcel owners to oppose the granting of buffer reductions.
  • Public Comment
    • Support was offered for this approach. Shared that there has been minimal controversy from previously approved CCVs. Encouraged moving forward with other updates.
    • Additional support was offered for this approach. Shared that the 350’ distance was “pulled out of the air.” Noted that CEQA appeals can be used to address concerns within the buffer reduction zone. Noted the time savings that would be generated by taking this approach.
    • Asked for translation services to be provided for future meetings in which cannabis-related items are on the agenda.
    • Concerns raised by an applicant involving a CCV. Anxious for clarity about how things will move forward. Shared that she has lost money while waiting for this process to be worked out. She shared concerns about being able to support her family. Farming is what she knows and what she hopes to be able to do this year to support her family.
    • Comments from an applicant on Poker Bar Road. Has been held up since November. Wonders how long the process will take. The farm is called “Poker Bar Ranch”… would like to know the status and when he will have a decision.
    • Supports changing from CCV to Buffer Reduction Zone. Shared concern that some public input hasn’t been incorporated. Noted that setting a timeframe for revisiting permits awarded with buffer reduction zones… allows for unforeseen issues to be addressed.
    • Shared that setbacks from residential structures have always been a component of the program. Shared that 750 licenses have been issued since the program was introduced. Shared that there have been very few (but loud) concerns. Support was offered for the proposed approach.
    • Support was offered for this approach. Noted that variances were used before the full Appendix C review process. Shared that she has a CCV and (currently) has to go through this process every year.
  • Board Discussion
    • The current process for new applications is to go through the Planning Commission for review of the application.
      • One of the two applicants that spoke today was denied by the Planning Commission.
      • This was based on aerial views of the property that raised concerns
      • There were no notices of opposition to this application.
    • Complaints – The online complaint portal allows residents to submit complaints. All are reviewed by staff.
    • Cultivation vs Canopy – originally measured from mature canopy… then changed to from all aspects of cannabis operations. As proposed – goes back to measuring from mature canopy.
    • Post-harvest cultivation steps must take place in enclosed facilities. Enclosed facilities don’t have to immediately implement all mitigation plans. Rather, these steps are required only if/when there are complaints.
    • Attenuation Plans – may want to reference these in the amendment. Additional requirements are put in place to address noise and lights.
      • Add “and all associated requirements”… and specifically mention attention plans in the application…. or specifically reference “and all associated requirements, including attenuation plans”
    • Timing for Implementation of odor control steps – examples shared from last year… took 2 weeks.  The first phase is usually a carbon filter system for indoor operations. Alternatives exist for outdoor operations as well.
    • Motion to introduce and waive… with the proposed change regarding attenuation… and the requirement that this be limited to legacy cultivation sites. Further discussion provided additional clarification as to how this would be incorporated into the amendment.
    • Discussion about the use of the word “welfare”. This term is not defined anywhere in county ordinances.
    • The board approved the amended motion. This will be brought back for a second reading


County Administrative Office

4.3 Discuss and receive board direction on the Overlay Zone concept for cannabis businesses and other potential business opportunities within Trinity County. Unknown

  • Trent Tuthill | CAO
  • Two options were presented – along with pros and cons of each. Both options involve the development of a process for establishing overlay zones that could be used for many purposes – including the exclusion or inclusion of commercial cannabis operations.
    1. Address this overlay zone approach in conjunction with the General Plan Update with an estimated timeline of implementation in August of 2025.
    2. Address this overlay zone approach as a stand-alone process for commercial cannabis with an estimated timeline of implementation in early 2025.
  • Public Comment
    • Shared that (in the past) Hayfork residents brought forward 600 signatures regarding a matter of interest and never received a response.
    • Disappointment shared that the county is pursuing additional ways to limit ways people can earn a living. Shared that overlays can’t be used in the manner in which this is intended. Shared that cannabis operations should be allowed to proceed without further limitations.
    • Apologized for a previous meeting in which his phone was unmuted and inappropriate comments came through. Apologized to Supervisor Frasier for previous comments.
    • Support was offered for pursuing option 1 – so that we have a process for opt-outs/opt-ins.
    • Supports having a formal opt-out process. Suggests that existing opt-outs go through this process as well. Shared concerns that existing opt-outs did not have majority support via a formal/fair process.
    • Shared that the Hayfork matter mentioned above was because there wasn’t a community plan. Concern that corruption is at play with the ongoing support of opt-outs.
    • Concerns shared that this approach is inappropriate and should be addressed via public workshops. Noted that we are the poorest county in the state and shouldn’t be limiting the ability to use land for economic development.
    • Shared appreciation for this board’s efforts to balance interests in matters like these. Asks that the board do things on behalf of the county as a whole.
    • A Commercial Cannabis operator within the area covered by the opt-out request in Hettenshaw spoke in opposition to opt-outs. Concern about the potential limitations on his existing business.
    • Suggests that we stop discouraging/limiting commercial cannabis… and taking away the rights of property owners. Noted the positive financial impact of cannabis.
  • Board Discussion
    • Overlay Zones – we have several types of overlay zones already in place. They do indicate what can and can’t be done with the land in those areas. Adds additional levels of regulation for how parcels within the area can/cannot be used. Flood Plain Areas and Areas around Airports, etc.
    • Temporary Moratorium – this was presented as an alternative for addressing the three opt-out requests while the Overlay Zone process is pursued.
      • Specific discussion about this alternative was not allowed due to the way this matter was placed on the agenda. The board was allowed/asked to provide direction as to whether staff should pursue some form of interim measure.
    • The board’s direction was to pursue Option 1 (overlay zone done in conjunction with the General Plan) and for staff to bring back something regarding a potential interim measurement for board consideration as soon as practical.


Human Resources

4.4 Appoint Christine Gaffney as the Auditor Controller effective April 1, 2024 to serve the remainder of the term expiring end of December 2026. Approximate cost in salary and benefits per month for the Auditor/Controller at A step is $14,129.

  • The board approved this matter as presented.
Closed Session Report Out – 3.19.24

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

  • Direction to staff.

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

  • Direction given to staff


Sharing Information  |  Encouraging Engagement


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