Grass Valley City Council passes first reading of pot ordinance, approves preliminary processing schedule for Dorsey Marketplace |

Grass Valley City Council passes first reading of pot ordinance, approves preliminary processing schedule for Dorsey Marketplace

The City of Grass Valley on Tuesday moved closer in implementing a local ordinance to regulate cannabis production.

During the meeting, the city council of Grass Valley voted unanimously to approve the first reading of an ordinance that forbids cultivation, dispensaries and deliveries within the city limits.

The council members opted against a sunset provision proposed by the Planning Commission that would have the ban on Jan. 31, 2017.

Officials said this is the first part of a two-track approach to find an appropriate solution that fits the needs of Grass Valley.

“The reason we have two paths is that the first path set into law what really is the current law today,” said Grass Valley Police Lt. Alex Gammelgard.

Though there is currently no legislation in place that regulates deliveries or cultivation, Gammelgard said marijuana cultivation is not allowed under the zoning code of the city. In addition, the city municipal code explicitly outlaws dispensaries.

The ad-hoc committee, headed by council member Jan Arbuckle and Vice-Mayor Howard Levine, will continue to meet with residents and stakeholders.

The next ad-hoc committee meeting is slated for 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 25, at City Hall.

The group is tasked with reporting its findings back to the city council in April.

The decision made by the City Council came six days after Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB21 into law, removing the March 1 deadline included in a state bill that had counties and cities racing to impose restrictions in order to preserve authority over marijuana.

On Tuesday, some residents voiced their concern about rushing into a ban.

“You are going to propose a ban before the ad-hoc committee has finished their work,” said Grass Valley resident Ed Thomas, “and I think that is wrong.“

But officials reassured residents that there are still ample opportunities to pitch in.

“We are going to have a placeholder in place until we have the ability to go out and get input from the community,” said Mayor Jason Fouyer. “I don’t see that as a grand risk, I think we can react fast enough to get something in place.”

Arbuckle said this solution allows the city to start with a clean slate and draft an ordinance that incorporates input from all sides.

“We are listening to the people…we understand that there are medical needs for marijuana, “ said Arbuckle.

“It’s not our intent to deny people who need medicine, our intent is to draft a ordinance that incorporates everything.”

Gammelgard said he expects the ordinance to become law at the end of March.

In other business on Tuesday, the city council approved a preliminary meeting schedule proposed by staff to review the Dorsey Marketplace project.

That proposed schedule included plans for a public meeting that the Planning Commission and the City Council will host jointly at the Council Chambers on 6 p.m. on March 1.

This will be an opportunity for residents to ask any questions about the review process and the application.

Katy Schardt, the project representative for Dorsey Marketplace, said she is still exploring options for the applicant-sponsored forum.

A proposed meeting date of March 16 was turned down because many council members expressed a conflict in their schedules.

Schardt told The Union that it is too early to pinpoint the names of potential business owners who will inhabit the shopping center at Dorsey Marketplace.

The applicant will base the tenant selection decision on the retail needs highlighted in the area through the Buxton Retail Trade Market Analysis and the Economic Development Strategy, Schardt added.

Also on Tuesday, the city council approved a professional services agreement with consulting firm Dudek, a move that launched the first phrase of the review process for the Dorsey Marketplace Project.

Dudek will prepare a report that analyzes whether the multi-use development will impact the city environmentally, and if so, whether there are ways to mitigate these effects.

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please call 530-477-4236, or email

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