Pubdate: Sat, 17 Oct 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


Yuba County will appeal a court ruling ordering the Board of 
Supervisors to revoke a penalty imposed on the landlords of property 
where an illegal marijuana grow site was found.

Supervisors in closed session this week voted unanimously to seek a 
review by the 3rd District Court of Appeal on a Yuba County Superior 
Court ruling last week.

Judge Stephen W. Berrier had ordered the board to revoke a nearly 
$16,000 nuisance abatement penalty assessed on Jon and Amy Messick.

The announcement of the appeal came in a formal public report of 
action taken in closed

session. The notice states the board voted 5-0 to authorize the 
County Counsel's Office to file an appeal for the reason "the 
decision is wrong under the law on several grounds."

Elected bodies are allowed to meet out of public view to discuss 
litigation. Formal action taken in closed session, however, must be reported.

A marijuana garden on the Messicks' property in the 4600 block of 
Ardmore Avenue in Olivehurst violated a county nuisance ordinance. 
The Messicks were informed of the violation on Sept. 22, 2014, and 
the violation was corrected by Sept. 26, 2014.

The board held a hearing last February and approved a $15,974 
assessment against the Messicks' property for daily administrative 
penalties. The Messicks were found liable by the county even though 
tenants on their property were growing the marijuana.

In his order, Berrier cited county code that provides an exception to 
an owner's responsibility to abate a public nuisance if the owner 
"did not cause, permit, or otherwise allow the existence of the 
violation and cannot legally abate said violation but has reasonably 
taken action to do so."

It has been the practice of county supervisors to impose fines on 
property owners, whether they live within view of marijuana gardens 
grown by tenants or not. Owners can be assessed $100 per day per 
violation with each plant considered to be a separate violation.

Some property owners during recent appeal hearings before the board 
have claimed ignorance of cannabis grows on their land and cited 
state laws that limit landlord inspections.

Supervisors last spring approved a tighter set of restrictions that 
bans outdoor growing and limits indoor plants to a dozen in a 
qualified accessory structure. It's resulted in a deluge of code 
enforcement complaints and responses.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom