Southern Humboldt County to open Planning and Building office Monday

Estelle Fennell to have SoHum office hours at site

Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell will move her office into the new building in Redway. (Times-Standard file)
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After many years of Southern Humboldt County residents being without a place south of Eureka to address their permitting needs, the county’s Planning and Building department will open an office in Redway on Monday.

The building will offer cannabis services and long range planning needs for the county. People can submit permit applications and pay fees at the location, though the office won’t accept cash.

Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell will also move into the office as the county attempts to bring all of its buildings in the region into compliance with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

“We’re trying to provide better services in the Southern Humboldt area,” Fennell said. “I really think it will make things a lot easier for anyone dealing with the planning department in that area. It will be an opportunity for people to have a more relaxed way of interacting with the planning department.”

The building will also provide an access point for the many cannabis growers residing in Southern Humboldt. While the cannabis industry is almost entirely cash-based, the office will only accept credit cards and checks for the safety of its employees.

“We’d like to set up another system but we haven’t really found a way to do that yet,” said Planning and Building director John Ford. “That’s not to say we won’t consider other options, but it just would not be a good thing to put employees in a place where they’re carrying large amounts of cash.”

Finding spaces in the region that could be compliant with the ADA was a lengthy process. Many of the county’s offices in the area are shifting to an “interim campus” while the county searches for permanent sites.

Fennell said she was pleased the residents who need planning services will no longer have to make consistent drives up to Eureka.

“It will also be a relief on the office in Eureka,” she said. “Any day you go to Planning and Building (at its Eureka office), you see one to seven residents of SoHum there. And the staff want to give them attention. This will relieve a bit of stress.”

The building is located at 3156 Redwood Drive. Fennell will have office hours Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. The Planning and Building office will be open for drop in service Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504.

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