To locals still adjusting to the new post-Prop 64 realities of life, a notice on Garberville businesses last week seemed a little opportunistic.
But the real story of the proposed Garberville Transport Depot — intended to open at 663 Locust Street (near the corner of Locust and Conger) — started back in 2013.
“My clients and I have been quietly working in Humboldt County for three years to bring legitimacy to the county’s most important industry,” explained spokesperson William Taggart by email to The Redwood Times. “We purchased the Garberville property three years ago knowing the potential usefulness of the property for Humboldt County’s medical marijuana industry.”
According to Humboldt County planning documents, a limited liability company named the Garberville Transport Depot, LLC is planning to open “a medical marijuana depot to collect and store medical marijuana and medical marijuana products for transportation and delivery by a medical marijuana transportation and delivery service business.”
An LLC is a company structured to provide the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership. Owners are members, as opposed to shareholders like in a corporation.
Taggart is a lawyer based in Oakland and is listed on the application as a contact, along with his fellow lawyer Josh Davis.
The depot application explained that the Garberville facility is solely a warehouse and storage facility.
And that is precisely what caused local residents to raise the alarm.
Once residents on Locust Street found the notice, a petition was launched. Though the residents wish to remain anonymous, they shared their concerns with The Redwood Times.
“Our hope and great concern is security because it is a cannabis warehouse, so we firmly believe the owners should provide human security 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said the statement from the residents. “As well, The Garberville Transportation (sic) Depot, will add more traffic congestion to an already overburdened Locust St. and its residents.”
By email, Taggart wished to clear up any doubts.
“The concerns expressed — security, safety, traffic congestion — are legitimate concerns, although misdirected as applied to Garberville Transport Depot. We anticipate the facility will be used solely to collect material to be moved out of Garberville as quickly as possible.” wrote Taggart by email. “No more than a half-dozen vehicles a day. We further anticipate visits to the facility will be brief. We also anticipate no vehicles will be larger than a small van.”
Still, the petition — of seven Locust Street residents — prompted planning officials to schedule a public hearing. Residents hope to collect more signatures in the coming weeks.
Michael Richardson, a senior planner with the the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department, told The Redwood Times that they will be holding a public meeting on Jan. 5 to hear concerns and allow the owners to address those before proceeding.
Taggart explained that the depot is just one aspect of his client’s Humboldt County investments.
“My clients applied for five Humboldt County business licenses for medical marijuana businesses in December of 2015. One license has been issued; four remain pending. All five are for non-cultivation activities,” explained Taggart. “We are partnered with small local growers in connection with the distribution of flower as well as CO2 extraction from trim.”
But they’re not the only cannabis related projects currently going through the necessary steps to launch their businesses in Southern Humboldt.
“We have a number of projects lined up, mainly in Redway’s Evergreen Business Park,” said Richardson by phone. “Each is going through the licensing steps and sometimes that process can take longer than expected.”
Richardson echoed Taggart’s comment that the depot has been a long gestating project that is just now clearing its final steps, hence the public only now hearing about it.
“We are still working our way through HC’s licensing process. We are optimistic, but it has taken almost a year to secure business licenses,” Taggart added. “We will then require a construction permit and a build-out for the Garberville facility. We plan on hiring as many people locally as possible in connection with all of our efforts in Humboldt County.”
After the initial conversation with The Redwood Times, Taggart wrote again to confirm that a public hearing was scheduled due to the local petition. He explained that he looked forward to speaking with those residents who expressed concerns.
“We also anticipate we will have the equivalent of 24-hour human security as it is likely employees of related businesses will reside in the adjacent residences as they have for the last three years,” Taggart added.
The company’s online presence is currently only an undeveloped squarespace site, created by a former clerk for Taggart’s firm. In an email late on Friday afternoon, Taggart shared the contents of a letter he sent to the residents group encouraging anyone to reach out to him with questions or concerns. Taggart can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 510-893-9999.
To see the list and map of other proposed new cannabis building permits pending, visit our news page.
IF YOU GO:
6 – 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017
Board of Supervisors’ Chambers
Humboldt County Courthouse
825 5th St.
Wheelchair access is located at the 829 4th Street entrance.