CA: City Begins Review Of Proposed Cannabis Dispensaries

Photo Credit: City of Davis

The Davis Planning Commission will begin this week to decide where in the city of Davis up to four retail cannabis dispensaries will be allowed to set up shop.

Twelve businesses submitted applications last fall for retail shops dispensing medical and recreational cannabis, on site as well as via mobile delivery. One of the businesses has proposed two different locations in town, giving the city a total of 13 sites to consider.

Under an ordinance passed in September, the City Council will select up to four to operate for an 18-month period, after which the council may expand — or reduce — the number of dispensaries allowed.

The locations the council ultimately will choose from include six in the downtown area; one in the Old East Davis area close to L Street; three on Olive Drive; two along Second Street, east of downtown; and one on West Chiles Road south of Richards Boulevard.

The city’s ordinance prohibits dispensaries in residential zones and within 600 feet of schools, day cares and parks, and all of the proposed dispensaries are in areas zoned for commercial, industrial or mixed uses. They include:

* 5 Point Management (applicant Donovan Nimmo) at 1046 Olive Dr.

* All Good Wellness (applicants Lorne Silverstein and Lawrence Allende) at 325 G St.

* California Grown (applicants Anthony and Stephanie Vasquez) at 1605 2nd St.

* Davis Cannabis Collective (applicants Kimberly Cargile and Ashley Kammerer) at 2121 2nd St.

* Davis Cannabis Company (applicant Sidney Dunmore) at 1221 3rd St.

* Delta of Venus (applicant Lee Walthall) at 120-122 B St.

* F Street Dispensary (applicant Rob Read) at 416 F St.

* The Good People Farms (applicant Mary Kay Hoal) at 514 3rd St.

* The Good People Farms (applicant Mary Kay Hoal) at 140 B St.

* Greenbar (applicants Melissa Sanchez and Kevin Carmichael) at 965 Olive Dr.

* Kind Farma (applicant Tim Schimmel) at 946 Olive Dr.

* Manna Roots (applicant Tracy DeWit) at 117 D St.

* River City Phoenix (applicant Tom Sheridan) at 1100 W Chiles Road

Beginning Wednesday and continuing at its March 28 meeting, the Planning Commission will hear from the applicants, take public comment and ultimately make a recommendation to the City Council on which applicants should be approved.

In reports to the planning commission and city council, city staff will identify applications that are viewed as problematic, those that may have some challenges in specific areas and those that substantially comply with the conditional use permit considerations.

Among the considerations will be whether the use will be detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the community; whether the use would enhance the economic viability of the area; the extent of support or opposition to the proposed location from community members; the background and history of the applicant; whether there is a history of police or crime-related problems in the area where a dispensary is proposed; and whether a proposed site and use is compatible with surrounding properties and uses.

“(N)ot every proposal may meet every consideration,” city staff note. Rather, the Planning Commission will “identify the proposals they believe best meet the factors of the ordinance to serve the needs of Davis.”

Correspondence received by city staff to date indicates the approval process over the next couple of months — first by the planning commission and then by the City Council — will be contentious, with prospective neighbors of some of the proposed dispensaries voicing opposition.

In a letter dated Feb. 23, Jeff Smith, owner of property next-door to the proposed Manna Roots dispensary at 117 D St., said, “this location is not appropriate for a cannabis retailer.

“Approval will bring drug users from other places into the Davis downtown, increase the number of vagrants already plaguing the block and further compound the miserable parking situation. This would directly place an undue burden on our tenants.”

Those tenants — Stacia and Rich Rusakowicz, managers of Pomegranate Salon — have also objected to the proposed dispensary.

In a letter to the city, they argue that Davis may be the only town in the region to legalize storefront dispensaries, meaning “everyone who wants to buy retail cannabis for other-than-medicinal purposes is going to drive in and out of downtown Davis for a 10-minute transaction.

“A better approach is a pilot program that allows one or two stores in Davis outside the downtown,” the letter states.

Meanwhile, the owners of the McCormick Building at Fourth and F streets have expressed concerns about the F Street Dispensary proposed for that downtown block, urging the city to consider issues like customers who may cause public disturbances; policing a business that is cash-only and requires an armed guard; parking violations; and loitering.

Mark Blake, owner of Blake’s Heating and Air, objected in an October letter to the proposed 5 Point Management dispensary which would be next-door to his Olive Drive property, citing “parking … and the unsavory clientele.”

That proposed dispensary is also opposed by Hallmark Properties.

In a letter last month, Reed Youmans cited parking concerns as well as other problems.

“The primary tenant in the building located at 1046 Olive Drive is the Olive Drive Market,” Youmans wrote. “The primary products sold at this store are beer, wine and spirits. We do not need another purveyor selling weed. We have enough problems.”

In addition to receiving more public comment at Wednesday’s meeting, planning commissioners will receive presentations from the applicants themselves about their proposals and provide some feedback. The discussion is then expected to continue at the commission’s March 28 meeting, at which time commissioners will vote on a recommendation to the City Council.

This Wednesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the community chambers, 23 Russell Blvd.