Nevada City pot dispensary outreach on tap | TheUnion.com

Nevada City pot dispensary outreach on tap

Nevada City's Planning Commission will consider the first phases of forming a medical marijuana dispensary ordinance by opening a 19-day public comment period and scheduling an evening special meeting to receive feedback.

The Planning Commission will consider this process at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, at City Hall, 317 Broad St.

The Nevada City Council forwarded a draft marijuana dispensary ordinance on to the city's Planning Commission for its recommendation following a well- attended council meeting Sept. 28. Thursday's meeting marks the first time commissioners will be able to publicly speak on the agendized item.

While the initial council meeting on the matter drew no opposition to a potential cannabis dispensary, a large showing of opponents made their voices heard during the public comment period of a Planning Commission meeting on Oct. 20.

If the commission goes along with city staff's recommendation to open up the public comment period process, commissioners will be asked to evaluate two key components of the proposed ordinance during that time. Those components include the parameters needed to regulate the operation of a dispensary business — including required permits, location limitations, and employee backgrounds, as well as the method the City Council will use to select a dispensary operator.

City staff has proposed a tentative 19-day public comment period from Nov. 18 through Dec. 6, with an evening special Planning Commission meeting scheduled for either Nov. 29 or Dec. 1.

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"The focus tomorrow is the staff is recommending a public outreach strategy that would include a public comment period and a public outreach meeting," City Manager Mark Prestwich said.

The informational special Planning Commission workshop will be geared towards addressing the concerns received during the public comment period, where citizens with feedback or concerns on the proposed ordinance can submit official letters to the city, or make their voices heard during the meeting.

"The focus is on the outreach strategy, and how they do it, not necessarily the merits of the ordinance," Prestwich clarified.

As currently drafted, the requirements of the ordinance include:

Payment of a permit fee, and all required city business license fees, development fees, and applicable taxes;

Record-keeping requirements;

Verification of customer age as 18 and older, and with a valid medical recommendation or valid primary caregiver status;

Security requirements such as retention of licensed security guards, security cameras, alarm system, and panic buttons, and cannabis products must be securely stored to prevent loss or theft;

No alcohol can be sold on-site;

Operating hours are limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily;

Cannabis or cannabis-containing products may not be consumed on the premises;

Minors are prohibited from being on the premises in any capacity;

Odor control devices and techniques must ensure that there are no odors released from the building that can be detectable off-site;

Owner(s)/employees of the business must also obtain a permit after undergoing a background check and meeting requirements set forth in the ordinance;

Light industrial areas as the appropriate zone for medical marijuana dispensaries to locate;

Dispensaries to be located at least 600 feet from schools as required by state law.

In other Planning Commission news:

The commission will provide a recommendation to the city council regarding the selection of an official trail for Sugarloaf Mountain.

An architectural review for 418 Broad St. will be considered for property owners Brian and Tamara Lane, who wish to replace an existing aluminum roof with a composition shingle roof. According to the staff report, in order to approve exterior alterations in the Historic District, the Planning Commission must find that the composition shingles are consistent with Mother Lode type of architecture.

To contact Staff Writer Elias Funez email efunez@theunion.com, or call 530-477-4230.