Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution No. 019P-003 with conditions approving application No. CUP 18-05 for a Medical and Adult-Use Commercial Cannabis Manufacturing (non-volatile solvents) and Nursery (with Research and Development) facility to be located a 1275 W. Elm Ave.
On February 12, 2019, the Community Development Department received a conditional use permit application for a phased Commercial Cannabis facility at 1275 E. Elm Ave from Next Green Wave, LLC (“applicant”). The development consists of a two (2) phased tenant improvement project: The first phase will be to renovate approximately 1,681 square feet of the existing 3,562 square foot industrial building including onsite improvements for manufacturing with a planned phase two (2) renovation of the remaining 1,881 square feet for a future nursery with research and development space.
Conditional Use Permit Application
In accordance with Section 9-5.128(f) of the Coalinga Planning and Zoning Code related to Commercial Cannabis operations, prior to, or concurrently with, applying for a regulatory permit, the applicant shall process a conditional use permit as required by the City's Land Use Regulations. The conditional use permit shall run with the regulatory permit and not the land. The applicant currently has a regulatory permit application under review with the Police Department and pending City Council approval. The State of California is now accepting applications from commercial cannabis operators who will be subject to the comprehensive set of regulations that the State has adopted. The State regulations that apply to cannabis manufacturing facilities are facilitated by the California Department of Public Health and Nurseries are regulated by CalCannabis (CA Department of Food and Agriculture). Those regulations will govern the various cannabis operations within the state in addition to applicable sections of the City of Coalinga’s commercial cannabis ordinance.
California Environmental Quality Act
This application constitutes a project in accordance with the California Quality Act, therefore staff has prepared an environmental analysis as part of this land use application.
Once the application was deemed complete staff requested comments from the necessary City Departments. This proposal including conditions of approval reflect feedback from the necessary City Departments.
III. PROPOSAL AND ANALYSIS:
General Plan/Zoning Consistency: The location where the manufacturing and nursery facility will be located has a General Plan designation of (MB) Manufacturing and Business with a zoning designation of Manufacturing and Business Light (MBL). The project proposal is consistent with the General Plan and Zoning Designations for Cannabis Uses.
Conditional Use Permit Analysis
The CUP analysis will look at operation criteria such as security, floor plans, odor control, hours of operation, business operations, ect. The regulatory permit reviewed by the Police Chief and approved by the City Council will consider these items in more depth and to ensure full compliance with the city planning and zoning code related to commercial cannabis operations.
The project applicant proposes to operate the following cannabis activities:
- Adult-Use and Medical Manufacturing (non-volatile) and Cultivation (Nursery with R &D) of Cannabis and Cannabis Products.
The first operation the applicant seeks to start is the manufacturing space for the non-volatile extraction. Once the manufacturing operation is up and running, the applicant will seek state licensing for its nursery with research and development space.
In accordance with the MAUCRSA a “Manufacturer” means a licensee that conducts the production, preparation, propagation, or compounding of cannabis or cannabis products either directly or indirectly or by extraction methods, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis at a fixed location that packages or repackages cannabis or cannabis products or labels or relabels its container.
The applicant will be implementing non-volatile extraction techniques. The non-volatile extraction methods will be Co2, ice water, dry sift and heat press.
NON-VOLATILE EXTRACTION SYSTEMS AND AREAS
The closed loop Co2 systems utilize pressurized Co2 as a solvent that is pumped through the biomass and pulls out the cannabinoid oil.
Ice water extraction techniques utilize extremely cold ice water to stiffen and remove the superficial trichomes from fresh or cured biomass which is then dried and cured to form a concentrated trichome rich substance commonly referred to as ‘hash’ or ‘ice water hash’ or ‘bubble hash’.
Dry sift extraction techniques utilize small micron screens to remove superficial trichomes from cured biomass to form a concentrated, pure, trichome rich substance commonly referred to as ‘hash’ or ‘full melt’ or ‘dry sift’.
Heat press extraction techniques utilize heated metal plates to squeeze flower, hash or dry sift that has been placed inside of silk screens. When the plates are pressed together a pure form of cannabinoid oil is separated from the material to form a concentrated, pure, trichome rich substance commonly referred to as ‘rosin’.
In accordance with State Law, “Nursery” is a cultivation site that conducts only cultivation of clones, immature plants, seeds, and other agricultural products used specifically for the propagation of cultivation of cannabis. Nursery licensees may maintain a research and development area, as identified in their cultivation plan, for the cultivation of mature plants. All mature plants shall be tagged. All products derived from these plants are prohibited from entering the commercial distribution chain.
The focus of the research is to understand plant performance with relation to measurable characteristics such as yield, flowering time, vigor and cannabinoid production (to name a few). This will be studied through controlled cultivation, selective breeding and the use of tissue culture techniques. The basis of the research has two stages.
First, the nursery and cultivation facility will propagate and flower select genetic varieties in strictly controlled nursery and flowering environments. Precise data will be taken from the nursery, flowering and post-harvest processes.
Second, male plants and plant samples from the main nursery and flowering facility will be transported to the satellite nursery R & D facility where the selective breeding and tissue culture activities will take place. These activities will include producing and collecting male pollen and producing tissue culture plantlets in a sterile lab environment.
In order to achieve accurate results, there can be no cross contamination of pests, pathogens, pollen or any other potential contaminant at either facility. As such, it is necessary to have complete geographical separation between the main nursery and cultivation facility and the nursery R & D facility.
Location: (1275 W. Elm Ave - Map & Floor Plans Attached)
Building Access: All employees and authorized personnel will enter the building at designated entry area after checking with the 24-hour security personnel at the site entrances who will grant authorization into the facility. HID proximity magnetic card and standard keys will access the building, which will be locked at all times with electronic door strikes on every exterior door or card reading door. Owners, managers, garden employees, office staff, maintenance, security, and local law enforcement will have building access. From the entry point authorized personnel will either be directed to the nursery area or the manufacturing area through the common areas.
Odor Control: In order to control odor while producing at the above capacity and remaining compliant with §9-5.128(d)(15), the facilities will be equipped with both negative pressure and mass filtration systems. Odor control systems will be checked and replaced as necessary to prevent odor from escaping the facilities and becoming a nuisance to the applicant’s neighbors.
Hours of Operation: The nursery and manufacturing facilities are expected to operate from 8:00am – 5:00pm, (7) days a week with approximately (3) full time employees at the nursery and approximately (6) employees at the manufacturing facility.
Parking: This facility will be accommodated by (16) parking stalls as shown on the site plan which exceeds the requirement per the planning and zoning code of 1 stall per 1,000 s/f of space.
Security: All cannabis facility operations will occur entirely inside of a secure, locked and fully enclosed opaque building with a roof. The building will have a state-of-the-art alarm system monitored by an alarm or private security company. All walls, doors and roof will be of solid construction meeting minimum building code requirements for industrial structures and include material strong enough to prevent entry except through an open door. The roof will be of solid non-opaque material to ensure that the cannabis operation cannot be seen, heard or smelled beyond the property line by a reasonable person. Premises Security will be state of the art and comply with all local and state regulations. The applicant will be contracting with an entity that provides twenty-four-hour security patrols by a recognized security company licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs or otherwise acceptable to the Police Chief for all aspects of physical and asset security. Included with the 24-hour personal security the facility will be fenced and protected with security cameras and ample lighting.
Fuel Storage and other Potential Hazardous Materials: The applicant will be required to meet with the Fire Marshall and Building Official to determine the level of safety protection required based on the desired storage of non-volatile solvents, and all other hazardous materials on site. Known chemicals and solvents to be used at the facility will be provided to the Fire Chief for review and approval as a condition of approval.
Water Use: The estimated water usage for this facility is 6,000 – 8,000 gallons per year. Since this facility is primarily manufacturing and R&D, the water demand is very minimal. There is no concern from the Utilities Department that there will be a significant impact on the ability to deliver water.
Wastewater Disposal: The applicant will not introduce any toxic chemical waste or solvents into the local waste stream and will be required to disclose all products, chemicals, solvents, active ingredients that will be used as part of the extraction process.
Solid Waste: The applicant will be required to utilize the City of Coalinga’s solid waste hauler (Mid-Valley Disposal for all solid waste needs including destroyed product, green waste, typical solid waste and any other cannabis related products or byproducts where the State of California has authorized franchised solid waste haulers to provide said services.
Surrounding Land Uses:
Surrounding Land Use Setting
Fresno County Agricultural Land
Per §9-5.128(d)(12), a Commercial Cannabis Operation shall not be located within 1,800 feet, measured from property boundary to property boundary, of any existing school or proposed school site as identified in the General Plan. For purposes of this section, school means any public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1-12, inclusive, but does not include any private school in which education is primarily conducted in private homes. The applicant meets this set-back requirement.
Public Notification: On February 14, 2019 public hearing notices were sent to all property owners within 300 feet of the site as required by Local and State law.
Environmental Review: Section 21084 of the Public Resources Code requires the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines to include a list of classes of projects that have been determined not to have a significant effect on the environment and which shall, therefore, be exempt from the provisions of CEQA. In response to that mandate, the Secretary for Resources has found that several classes of projects listed in Article 19 of the CEQA Guidelines do not have a significant effect on the environment, and they are declared to be categorically exempt from the requirement for the preparation of environmental documents.
The proposed project includes the renovation of an existing 3,562 square foot industrial building for a cannabis nursery and manufacturing facility which is consistent with the General Plan designation of Manufacturing and Business (MB) and zoning designation of (MBL). The project site is located within the City of Coalinga limits on a 0.47-acre parcel that is surrounded by existing industrial development and does not have any value as a habitat for endangered, rare, or threatened species. The proposed project would not result in any significant effects related to biological resources, traffic, noise, air quality, or water quality, and the site would be adequately served by all required utilities and public services. Therefore, the proposed project meets all requirements established by Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines and can consequently be considered exempt from the provisions of CEQA under a Class 1 exemption (existing facilities).
IV. FISCAL IMPACT:
This facility will generate an annual licensing fee in addition to a square foot tax in accordance with the planning and zoning code related to cannabis operations.
V. REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION:
A Conditional Use Permit shall only be granted if the Planning Commission determines that the project as submitted or as modified conforms to all of the following criteria. If the Planning Commission determines that it is not possible to make all of the required findings, the application shall be denied. The specific basis for denial shall be established for the record.
General Plan consistency: Approval of the proposed project will advance the goals and objectives of and is consistent with the policies of the General Plan and any other applicable plan that the City has adopted;
Neighborhood compatibility: The location, size, design, bulk, coverage, density, traffic generation and operating characteristics of the proposed project are consistent with the purposes of the district where it is located, and will not have an adverse effect on the neighborhood and surrounding properties;
Asset for the neighborhood: The nature, use and architectural/design features of the proposed development make it attractive, functional and convenient. The proposed development enhances the successful operation of the surrounding area in its basic community functions, or provides an essential service to the community or region.