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Current Sutter County News
 
Sutter County Elections Launches Mobile Friendly Voter Information Website
September 27, 2016
Sutter County Elections Launches Mobile Friendly Voter Information Website

As voting draws near for the general election, Sutter County's Elections Department is launching a mobile friendly voter information website specific to each voter's address.

"We're really happy to be able to offer a service that will give Sutter County voters information about the candidates and measures based on their resident address they can access on a smartphone or from their desktop computer," said Sutter County Clerk-recorder Donna Johnston, the County's chief elections official.

After the voter enters their address as they are registered to vote, the guide will display candidates and measures specific to their address, along with candidate statements and photos, if they have been provided by the candidates.

As the election nears, a polling place locator with a map will be added to the website.

The voter guide is also screen-reader enabled for visually impaired voters.

The guide can be found by entering www.Sutter.YourVoter.Guide into an internet search engine, or through the Sutter County Elections website (click on the Voter Guide and Poll Place Locator link under Voter Information). The Elections website is http://suttercounty.org/elections

Overseas military voting is currently underway. Absentee balloting begins October 10. The last day to register to vote is October 24. Election day is Tuesday, November 8.

 
Pass Road Through Sutter Buttes To Remain Closed During U2 Crash Investigation
September 22, 2016
At the request of the United States Air Force, the Sutter County Road Department is closing a 5.7 mile section of Pass Road through the Sutter Buttes. The roadway could remain closed for several weeks during the investigation into the fatal crash of a U2 Dragon Lady military aircraft stationed at Beale Air Force Base on Tuesday.

The public is requested to remain away from the area. Barricades will be placed at West Butte Road on the west and Kellogg Road on the east.

The military is working to accommodate residents who live in the area.

Debris from the plane is scattered in a wide area and recovering the pieces of the plane will be critical to the investigation.

The section of roadway will remain closed until further notice.
 
Warning lights installed on Highway 99
September 01, 2016
Warning lights installed on Highway 99

Flashing warning lights have been installed on Highway 99 south of Yuba City near a truck stop that has created hazardous traffic conditions when large trucks enter and exit the highway.

The lights were installed near the intersection of Oswald Road by Caltrans this month as a compromise after efforts to have a traffic light installed were denied, said Fifth District Sutter County Supervisor Barbara LeVake. She said she and Planning Commissioner Zac Repka and Assemblyman James Gallagher discussed the traffic issue with Caltrans, but they were informed a traffic light was not suitable at the location. “I would like to thank Barbara and Zac for really pushing on this safety issue and (District 3 Caltrans Director) Amarjeet Benipal for taking action,” Assemblyman Gallagher said. “We want to continue to work on this and are hopeful the new traffic signals will help keep motorists alert.”

The Commander of the Yuba-Sutter California Highway Patrol said the warning lights will save lives.

“Thank you to all of our fellow stakeholders that made the safety enhancements to the 99 corridor a reality,” said Capt. Shon Harris of the CHP. “Experience has shown that any step we can take in this direction will undoubtedly save lives. I am confident that our community will see positive results due to this collaborative effort.”

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Board of Supervisors seeks public input in CAO search decision
August 22, 2016

The Sutter County Board of Supervisors has asked the recruiter helping it find the next County Administrative Officer to create an online survey which allows County residents to help the board identify the characteristics and qualifications the new CAO should possess

The Board released the link to the online survey today: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DWJH8QZ.

"Our Board is taking the time to find the right candidate, and part of the process is asking for the public's help," said Board Chairman Larry Munger. "This survey has four parts: one on characteristics, one on qualifications, one on public expectations for priorities, and one open ended on the whole process. We hope people take the opportunity to help us in this important endeavor."

Those without access to a computer can mail responses to The Board of Supervisors, 1160 Civic Center Boulevard, Yuba City, CA 95993.

  1. What are the five most important characteristics you would like to see in the next County Administrative Officer?
  2. Is there any specific experience you feel the next County Administrative Officer should possess?
  3. What would you like to see the next County Administrative Officer focus on and/or accomplish in their first 12-18 months on the job?
  4. Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?
 
New Marijuana Garden Ordinance Enforcement Ends 300-Plant South Sutter County Grow
August 17, 2016

After one attempt in front of an administrative hearing officer and two attempts in court to get around Sutter County’s new marijuana cultivation ordinance banning outdoor grows, a 300-plant cultivation on Catlett Road in the Pleasant Grove area was voluntarily abated Monday morning.

The operation, on land leased by Cal Farms Medical Supply at 219 West Catlett Road, is the largest known cultivation to date in Sutter County. In court documents filed in connection with the grow, the attorney for Cal Farms claimed an investment of $80,000 was made in establishing the marijuana cultivation.

An inspection by Sutter County Development Services and the Sutter County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday confirmed that all of the plants have been cut down and were being removed from the property. In addition to losing the investment in the plants, those leasing the property and the property owners will be on the hook for administrative penalties, enforcement costs, and even taxes on the plants and farming equipment. The full cost is still being calculated.

“This is a tremendous, combined effort by the departments of Sutter County,” said Board Chairman Larry Munger. “Our ordinance bans commercial grows, bans outdoor grows and establishes fines of $1,000 per day for grows that are out of compliance. For those who really need access to medical marijuana and want to grow it, there’s a way to do it that is a lot easier than a lot of other places. We’ve even made it so you don’t need a building permit for pre-fabricated greenhouses which do not exceed 80 square feet in size. But no commercial grows or outdoor grows are allowed in Sutter County.”

Fifth District Supervisor Barbara LeVake was very pleased with the results. “A special thank you to the Sheriff, County Counsel and Development Services for their hard work in abating this large grow in my district,” she said. “My constituents are very pleased with the results.”

As of the second week of August, Sutter County had responded to 60 complaints of alleged marijuana gardens in violation of the County’s new ordinance, and had found 54 outdoor marijuana gardens. Of those, 45 have been voluntarily abated. After visits by the County to the property, “we’re getting a high rate of voluntarily compliance,” said Danelle Stylos, Director of Development Services. None of the gardens, however, have been as large or presented the legal challenges posed by the Catlett Road property.

On June 30, Development Services received an official complaint about marijuana growing outside on the Catlett Road property. On July 8, County personnel inspected the property and issued a Notice of Violation, which included an order that the marijuana be abated by July 18 or the property owner appear at an administrative hearing. Attorney Mitchell L. Abdallah of Sacramento appeared before Administrative Hearing Officer Michael Johnston on behalf of Cal Farms Medical Supply and argued that because his clients had relied on the previous version of the Marijuana Cultivation ordinance, they should be allowed to continue to operate. Johnston disagreed, and ordered abatement by August 5.

The order also imposed administrative penalties of $1,000 per day if the cultivation was not removed prior to August 6. When the cultivation was not removed by that date, Sutter County imposed administrative penalties in the amount of $30,000, billing 30 days at a time.

Abdallah appealed Johnston’s ruling, first to Sutter County Superior Court, and later to the Third District Court of Appeal, arguing the marijuana farm should be permitted to remain under the old rules. The County opposed his request and argued the new ordinance, adopted March 22, applied to all properties regardless of whether they met criteria under the older ordinance. Judge Perry Parker of the Sutter County Superior Court agreed with the county and refused to issue a stay of enforcement.

Abdallah then appealed that ruling to the Third District Court of Appeal which denied the appeal on August 11 upholding Judge Parker’s order.

Because Cal Farms ultimately abated the cultivation on August 15, the administrative penalties were reduced from $30,000 to $10,000 to reflect the actual number of days that the cultivation was allowed to remain on the property after the August 6 deadline set by the Administrative Hearing Officer.

Under the ordinance, administrative penalties which are assessed in 30 day increments may be reduced proportionately when proof is provided to Development Services that the cultivation has been removed. In this case, the cultivation was removed 10 days after the penalties were imposed so the amount was reduced from $30,000 to $10,000. However, the County is calculating the cost of enforcing the ordinance, including the time of law enforcement and code enforcement personnel, and the cost of County Counsel personnel.

Additionally, Sutter County Assessor Todd Retzloff said his office will also be assessing the property owner the value of each of the marijuana plants and all of the associated agricultural equipment on the property, as he is allowed to do under state law.

Before abatement

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After abatement

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