‘Anti-Cannabis’ Sentiment Biases the Redwood Valley MAC Meeting, Alleges Grower

Closeup of cannabisStory by Monica Huettl

On February 14, 2024, Redwood Valley resident Shannon Montoya told the standing members of the Municipal Advisory Committee about her neighbors Remi and Zoubeida Zajac whose cannabis production was causing her and her family several problems.

Montoya claimed the Zajacs were encroaching onto her property, causing problems with her well by keeping sheep and pigs and their waste near the well, putting porta-potties near the fence line, attracting illegal camping by cannabis laborers, and generally strewing trash in the neighborhood. Montoya told those in attendance that efforts to speak to her neighbors, the Zajacs, had not been successful. 

Montoya shared that the Zajacs were in the process of applying for a “setback reduction” with the County of Mendocino’s Planning and Building Department. If the Zajac’s application was granted during a hearing scheduled for the very next day, their cannabis cultivation would not have to comply with the current 100-foot setback from the neighbor’s property line. 

Moved by Montoya’s testimony and the urgency of the impending hearing, the Redwood Valley MAC voted that night to write a letter to Planning and Building asking them to deny the Zajac’s setback reduction application.

But, the MAC and this reporter soon learned there was much more to the story. 

Though Dolly Riley, Chair of the MAC, initially found Montoya’s testimony “compelling”, as she learned more about the Zajacs she learned that Montoya’s testimony was largely “unsubstantiated.” 

Despite the MAC’s initial vote to write a letter to Planning and Building voicing opposition to the Zajac’s setback reduction request, Riley told us that, “MAC members subsequently learned that no permit was required, and the letter was never sent.”

After reading of Shannon Montoya’s claims in our reporting on the recent MAC meeting, cannabis cultivators Remi and Zoubeida Zajac told a vastly different story, backed up by Mendocino County Superior Court records.

The Zajacs told us the reason for the lack of communication between them and Montoya is that Montoya’s husband, Christopher Marvin Dick, is prevented by a Protective Order from contacting the Zajacs, effective until February 16, 2026.

Why? Because he was convicted of felony negligent discharge of a firearm as a result of an incident in which he fired a gun in the direction of the Zajac’s minor son. Dick is on formal probation until February 16, 2025. 

The Zajacs moved to their property in 2014 and told us harassment from Montoya and Dick goes back years. Dick fired towards the Zajac’s son in October of 2020, and the case spent over two years in court before the judgment and protective order were issued. Dick requested several continuances before the case came to trial. The Zajacs, who are from France, were dismayed by the slow process of the case through our court system.  

The Zajacs comply with the applicable cannabis and other county ordinances, despite at least two code enforcement complaints that the Zajacs suspect came from Montoya, although the records are redacted as to the name of the complainant. The code enforcement complaints were investigated and dismissed. 

As far as the pending permit application that was the subject of discussion at the MAC meeting, Scott Ward, Building Permit Acquisition Consultant, said that the Zajacs were given erroneous information from the County Cannabis Department’s outsourced consultant, 4LeafConsulting.com. 

The Zajacs’ permit was issued in 2018, before the 2020 revised property line setback ordinance. Their permit was grandfathered in under the old ordinance. The permit application for a setback reduction was not even necessary, but 4Leaf did not figure that out and the Zajacs were charged a hefty fee for their unnecessary application. Remi Zajac expects to receive a refund from the County for the permit fees. 

Remi Zajac is concerned Redwood Valley’s Municipal Advisory Committee’s reaction to Montoya’s claims “was inappropriate and points towards a serious bias in the board.”

Zajac called out member Chris Boyd for what he described as a “singular focus on anti-cannabis advocacy, and unfortunately, her position gives her power to express it.”

Zajac was critical of the fact the MAC “took position right away . . . without considering that there could be another side of the story.” In Zajac’s eyes, this suggests the MAC “does not actually represent the whole Redwood Valley community in a fair manner, which goes against the goal stated purpose/mission of the MAC.” The whole situation has left Zajac wondering, “Is the board being hijacked by anti-cannabis activists?”

The Zajacs have been invited to speak at the March MAC meeting.

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Mendo Known
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Mendo Known
1 month ago

It seems Sharon Montoya and her partner “Dick” deserve to be a ued in Mendocino County Superior Court for their continued aggression and harassment of these nice people. Just look at this mugshot of this criminal ckrrectly named Dick: remember that face of insanity and just think of what this jerk has put his neighbors through. Hopefully the Zajaks sue and the Montoya / Dick are held financially liable for their harassment.

Screenshot_20240225_091611_Chrome
marco
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marco
1 month ago

how is any of this profitable?

Farce
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Farce
1 month ago

Hmmm…So let me get this right, okay? These people come in here all the way from France to blow up a weed grow. They don’t ask the neighbors or even care about the neighbors- some who have been living in that neighborhood a long time. They just arrive and start up a huge grow because…they have decided that’s what they want to do and everybody else can just suck on it. There are no property line setbacks for some reason in this neighborhood. You see the thing is that setbacks only became necessary as a result of people being crappy neighbors and doing crappy things right up to the property line- things that ruined their neighbor’s quiet enjoyment of their own property. That’s why we all have property setbacks now- because douches made us have to have them. We need setbacks to keep douches and assholes from crapping onto our properties. I think you see where I’m going with this….Throw in the “mean crazy guy with gun” fear factor- I don’t think he shot “in the area of the son” I think that is a fear claim. If he wanted to shoot the guy then he would have hit him. I think these French invaders are using the scared nanny-lovers to bolster their claims of “We Are The Victims”. meanwhile they have come in all the way from another country into an established neighborhood and they are victimizing the neighbors. ..I say they should Go Back To France. Bad Neighbors is what THEY are…

Kym Kemp
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Farce

Picking a side (against the permit pansies as you might call them) and sticking with it no matter what the evidence is exactly what constitutes anti grower bias, or in other cases racism, sexism, etc.

Mr. Dick had already lost firearm privileges when he was charged and later convicted of having discharged a firearm and endangered a child. According to the AVA in October of 2020, “CHRISTOPHER DICK, Redwood Valley. Grossly negligent discharge of firearm, child endangerment, ammo possession by prohibited person, possession of firearm after being prohibited by court order, disobeying court order.” https://theava.com/archives/137082

According to the AVA in December of 2020, “On Sunday, December 13, 2020 at approximately 9:48 P.M., Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office contacted Christopher Dick in the 1900 block of Peterson Pond Lane Redwood Valley…Dick had an active Mendocino County Superior Court Felony Arrest Warrant (Negligent Discharge of Firearm & Possession of Firearm while Prohibited by Restraining Order)…Dick was taken into custody without incident pursuant to the arrest warrant…Dick was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.” https://theava.com/archives/142715

Farce
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Farce
1 month ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

No. If they arrived fresh in a neighborhood of dope growers and wanted everybody to stop growing I would feel the same way- That they should go home or somewhere else. I have said that in these comments over the years. People should be respectful of the already-present neighbors in the places that they buy into. I think maybe you are the one who must always be on the side of weed growing, regardless of the circumstances. I sure am not against weed growing. I just asked my new neighbors if they’d be okay with my plants in my front yard. They said “It’s legal, right?”. I said “I don’t care about that. I care if it would bum you out and if so I’ll figure out a fence or somewhere else…because you are my neighbors”. They are from a local ranching family and were quite happy with my approach- they don’t smoke or embrace weed but they like me and said “Sure! Do what you want!” I know for a fact these “wonderfully permitted growers” didn’t do that. They shoved it down everybody’s throats. And now they want to play victim. I ain’t buying that bullcrap but you do- and you do it every time in favor of weed. And the gun getting shot? Yes- city people and Europeans are scared of guns. Just fire one off and they will file claims of danger danger danger. Nanny state mentality….

Kym Kemp
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Farce

I was referring specifically to your statement, “Throw in the “mean crazy guy with gun” fear factor- I don’t think he shot “in the area of the son” I think that is a fear claim. If he wanted to shoot the guy then he would have hit him.”

I have no idea how these growers acted to their neighbors. But Dick has already been convicted of endangering their child and that’s a dick move.

Cassandra Odom
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Cassandra Odom
1 month ago
Reply to  Farce

💯

Cassandra Odom
Guest
Cassandra Odom
1 month ago

Go Back to France and grow weed illegally. Get out of our country. Ruin the water ways and environment in France. No sympathy for these people trying to get rich of US soil while damaging. Big deal to came here as trimmers 10 years ago and then decided to stay and make illegal weed money.

Big Derty
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Big Derty
1 month ago

There are people commenting here who make statements and are simply ignorant of the environmental regulatory process imposed for cannabis grows in this county.
If we, as concerned citizens, imposed the same regulations to vineyards in this county you’d see a sharp decline in nitrogen levels in our waterways and a marked increase in water availability.
Cannabis is not the major drain on our aquifers nor is it the primary source of fertilizers and pesticides which leach into our waterways.
We need real solutions to reign in our problematic vineyards. I can’t see any difference in whether you purvey alcohol or thc. I wouldnt want the kids to see partake in either of these vices.

Last edited 1 month ago