In a surprise turn of events, the Grover Beach City Council on Tuesday night scuttled its proposed marijuana business district and instead asked staff to return in two months with a different ordinance that would allow cannabis businesses at any industrial area in the city — not just the 70-acre section the council supported at its last meeting.
The council decided against conducting a second reading of a land-use ordinance that applied an overlay to a city code allowing cultivation, nurseries, manufacturing, testing laboratories, transportation, delivery, distribution (including storage) and dispensaries for retail sales in an industrial area between Farroll Road, Highland Way, South Fourth Street and South 13th Street.
The change came after several people at the meeting worried that concentrating marijuana-related businesses in one area would be detrimental to the surrounding neighborhood, largely by forcing out existing businesses and property owners not related to sales of marijuana.
The council instead directed staff to return with a modified amendment that would remove the overlay and allow cannabis businesses at any industrial-zoned area in the city. (This would still include the 70-acre section the council previously examined.)
The council also indicated it would like to pursue opening up retail-zoned properties that would allow some marijuana businesses as well.
The redrafting will essentially send the ordinance back to the drawing board. It will have to start over again at the Planning Commission before returning to the City Council for another round of first and second readings before potentially going into effect. It will also have to go before the California Coastal Commission because most of the remaining industrial-zoned properties the city is considering are also in the coastal zone.
Meanwhile, the council did vote to approve its cannabis tax, which could generate up to $2 million in revenue for the city.
The city and the Yes on Measure L-16 campaign group will hold a public forum 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ramona Garden Park Center to discuss the changes in medical marijuana laws at the city and state levels.