Staff is recommending that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution No. 020P-003 recommending to the City Council approval of a City initiated zoning text amendment (No. ZTA 20-01) amending the Conditional Use Permit Regulations for Commercial Cannabis Regulations.
The Zoning Map and the Zoning Ordinance text may be substantially amended in two (2) ways, in accord with the procedure prescribed in this article: (1) Reclassification of the zoning applicable to a specific property, designating a change from one district to another district, commonly called "rezoning", (2) Changes in the permitted uses or regulations on property within particular zones or citywide, commonly called "text amendments".
Article 1 of Chapter 5 of the coalinga planning and zoning code establishes local regulations applicable to commercial cannabis operations as may be permitted under the California Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (SB 94), approved by the Governor on June 27, 2017 or subsequently enacted State law pertaining to the same.
Section 9-5.128(f) of Planning and Zoning Code related to commercial cannabis operations states that 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. Information that may be duplicative in the two (2) applications can be incorporated by reference. The conditional use permit shall run with the regulatory permit and not the land.
Over the course of the last 3 years staff has processed several conditional use permit applications where projects were approved and subsequently changed ownership, applicants backed out and moved elsewhere, or tenants decide to no longer pursue the project. Therefore, when this occurs the new tenant and/or owner is required to submit a new CUP application even when the use is the same.
On February 6, 2020, the City Council directed staff to proceed with a City initiated zoning text amendment to amend the planning and zoning code to remove the regulation requiring the use permits to run with the applicant rather than the land.
III. PROPOSAL AND ANALYSIS:
Typically, when conditional use permits are approved by the City of Coalinga the land use right runs with the land allowing for future owners and/or tenants to occupy the property so long as it is in compliance with the original use permit approvals. This is not the case with cannabis operations where the use permit does not run with the land requiring a subsequent use permit application for each cannabis operator even when the same use is proposed.
Staff has found that restricting the CUP approval to run with the applicant/regulatory permit and not the land, causes delays in operational timeframes, slows the process of permitting cannabis operations and reduces the ability of the City to collected license fees and taxes sooner because of the longer land use entitlement processing time and vacancy between change in tenancy.
General Plan/Zoning Consistency: The proposed zoning text amendment is consistent with the general plan policies and implementation measures including zoning consistency for commercial cannabis operations. The intent of the Coalinga Commercial Cannabis regulations were to implement state law as it relates to regulating commercial cannabis and cannabis products. The change in the security regulations would not be contrary to state law.
Staff feels that this action will not be detrimental to the community as it relates to cannabis permitting since the City will still have the regulatory permit that will govern the cannabis license from an operator standpoint and still have revocation authority in addition to the CUP. The change will allow for an easier transition from one operator to another. The submission of a new regulatory permit will still be required for each new operator which is reviewed and approved by the Police Chief and placed on Council consent agenda for concurrence.
Public Notification: On February 13, 2020 public hearing notices were posted at multiple public locations and emailed to local paper.
Environmental Determination: This text amendment has been reviewed in accordance with CEQA and staff has determined that this ordinance change would not have a detrimental effect on the health, safety and welfare of the community and fall under Section 15061(b)(3) - General Rule Exemption.
IV. FISCAL IMPACT:
There shall be no anticipated fiscal impact to the City.
V. REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION:
The following standard findings must be made for each Zoning Ordinance amendment:
- The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment would not be detrimental to the public interest, health, safety, convenience, or welfare of the City.
- The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment is consistent and compatible with the goals, policies, and actions of the General Plan, and the other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.
- If applicable, the site is physically suitable (including, but not limited to access, provision of utilities, compatibility with adjoining land uses, and absence of physical constraints) for the requested zoning designations and anticipated land uses/developments.
- The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment has been processed in accordance with the applicable provisions of the California Government Code and the California Environmental Quality Act.