Concerned Lathrop and San Joaquin County residents that want their voices to be heard in response to a massive proposed cannabis growing operation on Freewert Road will have more time to ensure that happens.
After the City of Lathrop voiced its displeasure with not being included among the parties that were notified by the San Joaquin County Community Development Department over the nearly 500,000 square-foot cannabis growing operation, the county agreed to extend the public comment period by several weeks.
“Considering the profound impact a commercial cannabis park of this scope would have on the City of Lathrop, we requested and were granted an extension to the comment period so that City staff can properly research, confer, and produce an appropriate response to this proposal,” the city wrote in a statement issued last week. “At our request, the comment period has been extended to Thursday, November 3, 2022.
“We have also requested that the City of Lathrop be notified in a timely fashion on all matters pertaining to this application moving forward.”
And the size of the proposed project – which, if approved and constructed, would be located just over a mile from Lathrop High School – is immense.
According to a document from the San Joaquin County Community Development Department, the agency has received a special purpose plan application to construct 16 buildings measuring 19,500-square-feet each off Freewert Road that would be used for the cultivation of recreational cannabis.
Four additional buildings measuring 30,160-square-feet each are also part of the proposal, as are an additional pair of 19,500-square-foot buildings that would be used to process the cannabis once it reaches full maturity – bringing the total square footage of the complex up to just over 470,000-square-feet.
While the project document lists En Quon He as the owner and the He Development Corporation as the applicant seeking the county’s approval, the property was at one time owned by San Joaquin County elected official Monte McFall – who was central to the corruption case involving county officials including former Sheriff Baxter Dunn over extortion claims centering on a failed power generating plant at the Port of Stockton.
McFall was ordered to serve six-and-a-half years in prison for his role in the scandal – the initial 10-year sentence was trimmed down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals – and walked out of federal custody in Arkansas in 2010. He filed a lawsuit against San Joaquin County in 2016 after his home on Freewert Road – where was initially arrested by FBI agents nearly 20 years prior – was raided by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion that he was cultivating cannabis.
The property includes a main home that is surrounded by 270-degrees of water and is located just before the bend in the road that leads to the Rich Hogan’s Haven Acres Bar and Grill.
While the City of Lathrop was not formally notified about the proposal or the window for comments, both the Lathrop Manteca Fire District and the Manteca Unified School District were included on the list of agencies that were notified – likely because the property falls within the coverage area for both agencies.
Located just outside of Lathrop’s officially drawn city limits, the project site is listed as an “area of interest” on the city’s planning maps and is regarded as in within its sphere of influence. An independent animal rescue operation bearing the city’s name is located just up the street from the proposed site.
The initial public comment window was initially set to close today, but residents will now have until Nov. 3 to share their input on the proposal with the San Joaquin County Community Development Department before he matter is brought to the San Joaquin County Planning Commission for consideration and possible approval. Additional information about the San Joaquin County Community Development Department can be found by visiting https://www.sjgov.org/commdev.To contact Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544