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Liens placed on Butte County properties with pot grows

Four years after Butte County's pot-growing ordinance was put into place, enforcement has reached a new level.

Posted: Mar 27, 2018 6:25 PM

Butte County, Calif. -- Four years after Butte County's pot-growing ordinance was put into place, enforcement has reached a new level.

For the second year in a row, the Board of Supervisors took a strict measure and placed liens on the properties of owners who violated the ordinance.

The liens ranged from $28,000 to $89,000. Seven properties are in Oroville, three are in Feather Falls, two are in Palermo and one each in Bangor, Durham and Berry Creek.

"This seems to be working for us, I just wish people would comply with the law," said Butte County Supervisor Bill Connelly.

Butte County has maintained strict regulations for four years since putting its pot ordinance in place.

"When people were caught growing too much marijuana they're issued a citation, they ignore offers of compromise," said Connelly. 

Tuesday marks the second year the county has enforced state laws along with the county's medical marijuana ordinance.

"Today we applied the liens on properties that were being grown on," said Connelly.

15 Butte County properties with marijuana grows were found to be a public nuisance.

"They'll give us a complaint and then what happens is the officer will sit down and do an investigation on it. Have we had any prior history there? What size is the parcel?" said Chris Jellison, Manager of the Butte County Code Enforcement Division. 

5 properties were given until April 9th to pay the fine or the full lien and full cost recovery will be proposed.

"They break it down between what is a special assessment and a penalty. The penalty would be from when they came in the ground to when they came out," said Jellison.

The special assessment consists of time it costs to take the helicopter out. All those costs are incurred in the special assessment.

Natoshia Almodova is a relative of one of the property owners who received a lien. The board said her case was unique because due to family circumstances, the county only charged the cost of abatement and one quarter of the original lien.

"We are getting punished over something we didn't do and we had no control over," said Almodova.

According to the agenda, there were 495 complaints, up from 433 in 2016.

The enforcement program gained compliance in over 80% of reported complaints.

"Some of them are kind of blatant, that what they were doing, they are acknowledging it. I can see they're going on the right path," said Almodova.

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