County OKs hemp farm

Operation to replace equestrian facility on Frazier Lake Road

The location of the San Benito Hemp Campus is shown in this aerial image provided to the board of supervisors.

The San Benito County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal July 23 that will transform a former turkey farm and equestrian facility into a hemp processor.

San Jose-based Pacific Bay Capital Group plans to construct a 275,000-square-foot San Benito Hemp Campus at 7800 Lake Road in Hollister on property owned by the Kevin Chambers Living Trust of Menlo Park. The 75-acre site is currently home to Gilroy Gaits, which offers various equestrian facilities, as well as personal storage for the owner.

Located south of the Frazier Lake Airpark, the facility was originally constructed in 1988 as a turkey egg-raising farm.

According to a report by county principal planner Taven M. Kinison Brown, the hemp campus would be home to facilities for hemp cultivation and hemp-derivative manufacturing and CBD oil extraction. The manufacturing processes will include various hemp products, which are not specified in the report.

The developer also proposes to construct 60,000 square feet of greenhouses. The facility will also process hemp grown elsewhere in the state.

“Staff views this project as an adaptive reuse of an underutilized agricultural production facility,” the report reads. “Aside from two 30,000-square-foot liner hoop houses (or more formalized structures) to be added between existing structures on the developed property, there will virtually be no new construction, nor the impacts associated with new development and construction.”

Per the development agreement, Pacific Bay Capital Group will pay 1 percent of its gross annual receipts to the county.

The developer anticipates hiring 75 to 100 employees once the facility is fully built out, with a payroll between $3 million to $4 million annually, according to the report.

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