Why the ‘Right To Industry’ Ordinance Must Be Stopped…


Redwood Valley
[Further to her previous letter]

It has come to my attention that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors intends to vote on a Mendocino County “Right to Industry” Ordinance on December 10, 2013. This ordinance has now been revised by “County Staff” and will be presented to the Board for a vote on December 10th.

The Mendocino County CEO just initiated a 6-Day Public Comment Period which ends on December 10, 2013. The CEO lists various “Stakeholders” forgetting to include Mendocino County Residents, the major stakeholders, in his quest for public comments.

This “Right to Industry” Ordinance (which reads like an “Industry Protection Racket), would protect current and future industrial operations from complaints by neighbors for a wide variety of problems that should be addressed on the local level by our supervisors who are elected to represent the interests of all the people of Mendocino County. In addition there is no definition for many terms within the ordinance including the word “nuisance”. Thus, many interpretations may be used due to lack of clear definitions.

This “ordinance” unleashes all current and future industrial operations to pollute our air, water, soil, negatively impact our roads, sewage treatment plant, local wells, and would increase noise, night lights, chemical releases, excessive use of ever-larger billboards, lower property values without county compensation, lower quality of Russian River Water (along with tributaries), and also impact neighboring industries who may not appreciate having a dusty, dirty, noisy, polluting neighbor.

This “ordinance” has the potential to reduce the quality of life throughout Mendocino County. And it could impact future businesses and residential properties in the Ukiah Valley and other areas by undermining the quality of life and health of the residents of Mendocino County. It should be noted that changes take place in zoning areas in Mendocino County from time-to-time which could impact more and more residents of our county as these changes occur. And it should be noted that many types of pollution can impact residents more than 300 feet from any industrial site.

The “ordinance” may leave some unknown type of mediation and/or costly lawsuits as the only alternative for Mendocino County residents to take action against current and future industries that “take advantage of this ordinance”. The idea that this will protect the County and all industry located here from “frivolous nuisance complaints” is untenable to the majority of County residents. However, if this “ordinance” is passed it will take away the rights of Mendocino County residents to file complaints or to have the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors take action on behalf of the County residents that they represent.

The ordinance will result in a “loss of rights” by Mendocino County residents to hold their elected officials accountable for the actions of industry in our area. And it will allow Mendocino County and other local cities to site polluting industries in Mendocino County…what a great incentive and open door to downgrade the quality of life here in our County.

This “ordinance” would relieve various Planning Departments from evaluating the type and scope of negative impacts of new industry on Mendocino County because the new industry application would have an agreement that Mendocino County residents would not be able to oppose any types of pollution or other problems that an industry would bring to our County and there would be no need for any mitigation measures for these issues prior to any industry being located here.

The “ordinance” is perfect for businesses like the proposed slaughterhouse (and needed feedlots for profitability-rather than having a mobile facility that could travel from ranch to ranch), to be situated in the Ukiah Valley. It is perfectly designed to allow highly polluting industries or those that would negatively impact local traffic patterns…etc., into our County. And it would give current industries the ability to conduct negative practices in the future without public consent and with these practices increasingly becoming a burden to Mendocino County residents while property values decline whether industrial, commercial, or residential.

And once an industry has been approved to locate here it can change its activities some of which may have negative impacts on our County. The eventual result will be that Mendocino County will become a heavily industrialized and polluted county with the people having no voice in our quality of life here.

The potentially negative consequences of this “ordinance” demands a “NO” vote from all of our supervisors. We elected all of our supervisors to be accountable and to act in the best interests of our County not to abdicate their responsibility to protect all of their constituents. The idea that County residents only file or make “frivolous complaints” is nonsense when the quality of our lives are impacted or at stake.

We urge a “NO” vote by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on this “Right to Industry” ordinance on December 10, 2013.


Ava Peterson
Redwood Valley, CA

One Comment

Preparing us for the TPP? So long sovereignty, hello slavery. This sort of thing always happens in communities that don’t understand how to resist, and usually also to those who do. If people understood how this worked we would be having continuous torchlight pickets to prevent this set of supervisors even meeting until new elections can be held.

But nothing like that will conceivably happen in rural America, at least not in this century.