Planning and Development Department Director Lisa Plowman said copyright laws prevent the county from releasing some plans without the permission of the applicant.
However, she said, the county has made some of those documents available in “clean rooms” where the public can review them but can’t make copies or photograph them.
Marc Chytilo, an attorney for a number of cannabis appellants, also called for planning manuals to clarify application requirements, but he was critical of the county’s handling of copyright issues.
“The county’s use of copyright as a shield has been much broader than necessary,” he said, asking that applicants be required to sign a copyright waiver when submitting plans or not include copyrighted materials in their applications.
Plowman told the board her department is working with the County Counsel’s Office to establish guidelines on copyrighted materials.
Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann said she’d heard some of the changes will lead to better projects being submitted and asked Plowman how that would come about.
Santa Barbara County Planning Commission rejects appeal of Castlerock cannabis cultivation project west of Buellton
“I think as we’ve all grown and learned through this initial kickoff of the cannabis ordinance and the permit process … the applicants have been listening to the hearings, understanding what the concerns of the Planning Commission are, understanding what the concerns of the board are, [and] what we’ve seen is people molding their applications to address those concerns in advance,” Plowman said.
“We’re starting to see more collaboration between appellants and applicants and trying to resolve issues before it gets to that point,” she added, describing it as a “maturation process” leading to better coordination and streamlining.