Fan Noise from Ever-Bloom Cannabis Greenhouses Creates a Stir

The 11-acre Ever-Bloom cannabis greenhouse operation is one of the largest and closest to homes out of the 20 active "grows" ringing the beach town of Carpinteria.

But it does not exceed the legal threshold, county says

The owners of one of the largest cannabis operations in the Carpinteria Valley, leaders in the effort to prevent the smell of pot from drifting into homes, have turned their attention to a new problem: controlling noise.

Ed Van Wingerden, the owner of Ever-Bloom, a greenhouse operation with 11 acres of cannabis under cultivation at 4701 Foothill Road, was sued in 2020 for allegedly releasing “noxious odor” into the densely populated neighborhoods next door. One of the plaintiffs in the case was Paul Ekstrom, a retired firefighter whose property on Manzanita Street shares a backyard fence with Ever-Bloom.

In 2022, Van Wingerden, installed 110 expensive carbon filters called “scrubbers,” imported from the Netherlands, that are proven to remove most of the “skunky” smell of pot before it can escape through the roof vents. Ekstrom began to breathe fresh air again.

“They’ve done wonders on odor control,” he said this week. “It’s ninety-to-ninety-five percent better, a vast improvement, nothing compared to what it used to be.”

But the ink was barely dry on the lawsuit settlement papers last July when Ekstrom began firing off weekly emails to Ever-Bloom representatives, county planners, city officials, citizens’ groups, the local growers’ association and reporters with a new complaint: “LOUD noise.”

“I trust you are having a quiet and peaceful Sunday morning. Well, as you already know, I am not,” Ekstrom would write. “I miss using my peaceful back yard and patio … Is this your standard of being a good neighbor?”

Ekstrom bought his house in 1976 when the property next door was a lemon orchard. Ten years later, the Van Wingerden family built Ever-Bloom and ran it for 30 years as a cut flower operation. Now the Gerber daisies have been replaced with cannabis.

“It is not fair for me to have to live with the 24 hour a day seven days a week intrusion,” Ekstrom said of the noise, noting that it began in late May.

Paul Ekstrom shares a back fence with Ever-Bloom at his home on Manzanita Street. Photo by Melinda Burns.

Ever-Bloom Responds

Under the county’s cannabis ordinance, the noise level at the property line of a cannabis operation must not exceed 65 decibels. In recent months, county planners said, they made numerous visits at different times of day, both announced and unannounced, to measure the noise levels along the southern property line that Ever-Bloom shares with Ekstrom’s cul-de-sac. They said they never recorded a reading louder than 60 decibels at the property line.

Inside the greenhouses, the planners, said, they did record readings of 69 or 70 decibels when standing right next to a fan. In an email this week, Phil Greene, the president of Ever-Bloom, said the noise at the property line is indeed coming from the greenhouse fans and not the scrubbers. Fans are used to mix the air inside greenhouses and help homogenize the temperature and humidity, he said, adding, “This system has absolutely nothing to do with scrubbers.”

In response to Ekstrom’s complaints, and because “we felt the system was too loud,” Greene said, and even though the company was not exceeding the noise standard at the property line, the company took several measures to lower the noise from fans.

Ever-Bloom turned off its fans at night from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., Greene said. The fans were mounted on rubber bushings to reduce any noise caused by vibration against the greenhouse walls. The sound-proof boxes for the fans were redesigned to further lower the noise at the property line below the county standard. And in addition, Greene said, “We have tested a new fan and will be retrofitting the boxes with the new, even quieter fan.”

Since Thanksgiving, Ekstrom said, the noise level has improved and he’s stopped sending emails.

“I’m really happy with what they’ve done so far,” he said. “Things have calmed down there a lot. The noise is more like a little bit of a freeway hum, not an industrial hum.”

Earlier this year, the county investigated a noise complaint from neighbors of Pacific Grown Organics, five acres of cannabis under cultivation at 5892 Via Real. There are no scrubbers at this operation. For odor control, fans on one side of the interior of the greenhouse blow air toward a “misting” system located on the other side. Here again, county planners found no noise readings above 65 decibels at the property line.

Melinda Burns

Written by Melinda Burns

Melinda Burns is an investigative journalist with 40 years of experience covering immigration, water, science and the environment. As a community service, she offers her reports to multiple publications in Santa Barbara County, at the same time, for free.

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  1. Here in my city of Santa Barbara, a business and property owner are violating many ordinances and the City administration admits it, but there is no chance of having the violations rectified. Can you guess why? Please respond with your answer.

    • Sac – you simply disparage the plight of the Carpinterians who have to be located next to this massive racketeering operation sanctioned by just over half of the city council.

      It’s funny you think this is a non-issue but are so supportive of the homeless scum populating the streets.

      All bark and no bite, typical Sac.

    • yeah, these folks just need to get over it already. This is petty. I live near the 101, should i complain to Cal Trans about the sound of cars? Or to Amtrak because of the train horns? Damn, i live two blocks from the water, should i cry to Neptune that the waves are being loud again? Wait, I can smell kelp, better call someone and complain. Good lord this is just stOOpid….

      • Wow man, it’s almost like the freeway wasn’t there decades ago and neither were the train tracks.

        Oh wait they were, only the highly non-compliant cannabis grows weren’t there and when you were born / moved there you settled by an established freeway and railroad transit system.

        • oh you mean like there wasn’t farm land there years ago too? your point is failing. Fast. Cannabis is a crop. Other crops stink much more and were grown there for decades as well as having low flying crop duster planes dumping pesticides on it. I remember vividly, watching those planes. Dusting crops, houses, back yards, people and pets. So the onions and brocolli can grow…..

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