The Planning Commission is meeting this Wednesday to determine some very crucial proposed changes to the current local ordinance governing the cannabis land use regulatory process. Before the Commission are two matters that were continued from the September 12th meeting last month. The Monterey County Resource Agency is the County department that processes land use entitlements. Staff is suggesting that the current use permit process be changed to an administrative review process. This proposed changed would apply to all cannabis land use entitlement applications except for cannabis retail facility applications that fall within the 1500 foot set back requirement from an already established retail facility. This proposed changed would simplify the standard review process and streamline the land use application process. It would also expedite the County’s work flow and reduce the time to process certain applications. More importantly, the administrative review process still notifies the public of the proposed project and affords interested parties an opportunity to request a hearing. Having the projects determined under this review would enable projects to obtain their CEQA compliance which is required in the annual state applications in a more expedited fashion.
The second matter before the Commission is the proposed change to the retail facility setback requirement. As it currently stands retail facilities within 1500 feet of another approved facility do not meet the requirements of the regulatory ordinance. The 1500 footset back is established once an entitlement is granted by the appropriate authority. The proposed changes set forth that entitlements for commercial cannabis retailers shall be considered in the order that the application for the entitlement is deemed complete. And as mentioned above a use permit shall be required for a proposed retail facility that does not comply with the 1500 foot setback from another approved facility as opposed of the proposed changed above, which would result in Administrative Permits.
If either of the matters interest you or have consequences you wish to voice it is important you speak at the Planning Commission hearing tomorrow in order to preserve your rights on the record.
Jennifer Rosenthal is a local cannabis and criminal defense attorney. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and does not reflect an official position of the Association.