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Hoop house setback guide not discussed by Santa Barbara County supervisors
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Hoop house setback guide not discussed by Santa Barbara County supervisors

A guide to help farmers determine if a setback would be needed for hoop houses placed near creeks on their lands was not discussed as planned Tuesday by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

At the start of the morning meeting in Santa Maria, supervisors heard the Planning and Development Department had asked to have the discussion pulled from the agenda, with no specific date set to bring it back to the board.

Under a County Code ordinance approved last year, hoop, shade or crop protection structures on agriculturally zoned land are exempt from permit requirements, although setbacks from riparian areas are specified to protect riparian habitat and the wildlife it supports.

But it’s up to the farmers to determine whether creeks and other waterways on their land qualify as riparian habitat and whether a setback is required.

The “Guide for Applying Streams and Creeks Setbacks to Exempt Hoop Structures and Shade Structures” was developed to help farmers make that determination.

“Given the fact that some farmers are operating completely in the dark, is it possible to get a presentation [about the guide]?” asked 1st District Supervisor Das Williams.

Planning Director Lisa Plowman said the guide was developed in conjunction with the Agriculture Advisory Commission, and some questions about procedure had come up the department would like to work out before presenting the guide.

Supervisors unanimously approved the request to pull the item from the agenda.

Plowman said any farmers who have questions about whether they have riparian habitat requiring a setback can call the Planning and Development Department, and a staff member will visit the site to help them make a determination.

Farmers can contact the Santa Maria office at 624 W. Foster Road by calling 805-934-6250 or the Santa Barbara office at 123 E. Anapamu St. by calling 805-568-2000.

Photos: The public tours several local farms as part of the inaugural Santa Barbara County Farm Day

This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. He can be reached at


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News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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