Written by The Business Journal Staff
After hearing from two Hanford officials who visited similar facilities in San Jose and Canada recently, the town’s city council gave a tentative green light to plans to locate a huge indoor pot growing facility in the Hanford Industrial Park.
“We found them to be very impressive facilities — not what we were expecting,” said Police Chief Parker Sever in his report on the fact-finding trip.
The eye-opening plan to grow medical marijuana has been proposed by Oakland-based Purple Heart, which expects to create 1,115 full-time jobs with some $14 million in annual tax revenue for Hanford. Chief Sever told the council about their visit.
“Looking at the facilities we went to, even the district attorney was impressed. Do I think if a facility like that was in Hanford, I could regulate it? I do.”
Representatives of Purple Heart will now be invited to a future city council meeting to share more about their business plan. For now, council asked staff to draft an ordinance that would allow for medical marijuana cultivation facilities in heavy industrial zones. Such uses are currently prohibited.
The facility is the long-vacant Armstrong / Pirrelli Tire building, about a million square feet, that was once the city’s largest employer.
Kettleman water system hearing next month
Kettleman City’s long wait for clean water is a bit shorter now that the State Water Resources Control Board has set a Dec. 6 meeting to finalize a grant to the community.
With the grant the local service district will have everything in place to build a $9.6 million drinking water treatment plant that will take about 18 months to construct.
The latest hurdle was an extra 8-month survey for endangered critters near the construction site required by regulators. Joseph McGahan, an engineer with the Kettleman City Community Service District, said the study found no blunt-nosed leopard lizards or anything else near the construction site adjacent to the California Aqueduct where the water will be drawn.
“We should be able to go out to bid in January,” McGahan said.
The town has suffered from high levels of arsenic and benzene in the community’s only water wells. Now people will have clean surface water. Funding has come from the county, the state and U.S. Department of Agriculture.