Nevada City Council adopts marijuana measure |

Nevada City Council adopts marijuana measure

Nevada City Council voted 5-0 on Wednesday to adopt an ordinance that calls for a ban on all outdoor marijuana grows, and limits indoor cultivation to 25 square feet or less by qualified patients, people with identification cards and primary caregivers.

Also on Wednesday, the council OK’ed the first reading of an ordinance that regulates the operation of franchise stores citywide.

Under the new cannabis measure, growers are required to obtain a permit from the police department as well as to pass a quarterly inspection.

“I urge the council to pass the ordinance today and get it in before the March deadline,” said Nevada City resident Roger Savage.

He encouraged the officials to move forward with enacting the measure, arguing that there is still uncertainty with the bill AB21, which was created by state officials to remove that March 1 deadline.

Vice Mayor Evans Phelps complimented the community and the city for processing the ordinance in a calm and efficient manner.

The ordinance will be written into the city municipal code and will become effective 30 days from the meeting.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act required all municipalities to come up with their own measure before March 1, or lose the authority to regulate cannabis cultivation.

During the same meeting, Nevada City Council voted 4-1 to OK the first reading of a draft ordinance that calls for a prohibition of all formula retailers and restaurants, but allows certain service industries throughout the city with the condition of use permits.

Phelps cast the only dissenting vote.

She urged the council to enact regulations when big-box stores come in, rather than making a decision now.

But Mayor Jennifer Ray said it is very important to have some rules in place; the issue was first brought up in 2014 by then Vice Mayor Ray.

The city had opened the matter up to the community in public forums to discuss options for regulating formula businesses in the city.

The Planning Commission voted 4-1 during a special meeting on Oct. 29 to send a proposed ordinance back to the city staff for further review. Several commissioners wanted the city to consider strengthening existing land use ordinances, instead of enacting a new ordinance that regulates the development of big-box stores in town.

Many residents at the meeting spoke passionately in support of the proposed ordinance, urging the city council to preserve the essence of the small town.

“I came here to remind you what a jewel you have,” said Rough and Ready resident John Hughes, who has lived in Nevada County all his life. “I would encourage you to tinker with the atmosphere, to tinker with the soul of the town most cautiously, and to keep hold of the ability to say no.”

“Nevada City is the county seat, it represents the rest of the county, I would hate to see it lose its value,” he added.

Laurie Oberholtzer argued that fixing the ordinance with architectural reviews is not a good solution.

“We have very strong environmental reviews in the city, anyone who builds a new building has to go through an architectural review, but architectural reviews can’t stop formula stores,” said Oberholtzer, who also served on the city council and the Planning Commission.

“It can change the way it looks, but not what it is,” she said.

City Attorney Hal DeGraw said the city could go back to amend the ordinance if issues come up.

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

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