Grover Beach considers 70-acre industrial area for marijuana businesses

In recent months, Grover Beach has voiced its approval for allowing marijuana businesses in the city — but now comes the tricky question of where to put them.

The Grover Beach Planning Commission will mull the question at its meeting Wednesday, as it considers staff’s suggestion to allow the businesses in an industrial area of town.

The commission will consider recommending an overlay to the city’s code that would allow commercial cannabis uses in a 70-acre area located between Farroll Road, Highland Way, South Fourth Street and South 13th Street.

The city currently prohibits all commercial marijuana businesses. The new overlay, as well as a separate regulatory ordinance being drafted by the city, would allow cultivation, nurseries, manufacturing, testing laboratories, transportation, delivery, distribution (including storage), and dispensaries for retail sales.

The businesses would be restricted to only medical marijuana businesses until 2018, when the state expects to begin licensing recreational marijuana businesses. Until that time, recreational marijuana businesses will continue to be illegal, and not allowed in the city.

According to a staff report, the area being considered is composed primarily of small- to medium-sized businesses in buildings of less than 20,000 square feet, with “many underutilized and vacant lots.” There are residential zones to the north, east and southwest of the proposed overlay.

The Planning Commission will consider the land-use overlay at its meeting Wednesday and either recommend approval or denial to the City Council. It could choose to reduce the size of the proposed overlay or increase the size by adding other commercial- or industrial-zoned areas of the city to the overlay.

In addition to a location for a marijuana zone, the land-use amendment would also set forth some rules for those businesses established there (these are subject to change at the commission’s discretion):

▪  A cannabis business would need a use permit from the city before opening. Use permits are subject to a public hearing and notification of all residents within 300 feet of the proposed business.

▪  A maximum of four dispensaries could be allowed in the city; no limits have been placed on other types of cannabis businesses.

▪  Dispensaries would have to be set back at least 100 feet from any residential zone; no setbacks have been drafted for other types of cannabis businesses.

▪  Hours of operation for dispensaries must be between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

▪  Deliveries and loading/unloading must occur within an enclosed and secure building area.

▪  Marijuana odors must not be detectable from the property boundary, public right-of-way or within common areas of multi-tenant buildings.

▪  All cultivation and nursery uses would be required to prepare a water recycling plan.

▪  All cultivation and nursery uses should be within an enclosed building.

▪  Dispensaries would be limited to one building-mounted sign, not to exceed 10 square feet, that identifies the business name only. Signs cannot contain logos, graphics or list products or services offered.

The overlay and separate regulatory ordinance will then go before the City Council for approval at its meeting Feb. 9.

Results from the 2016 election brought about new rules on the use of recreational and medicinal marijuana in several states, with more than half now allowing for the later. Federal government leaders including president-elect Trump have voiced the

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie