Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution No. 020P-009 with conditions approving Application No. CDA 18-02 for an indoor commercial cannabis cultivation facility to be located a 9840 Cody Street.
On June 18, 2020, the Community Development Department received a combined development application for the development and construction of a new indoor cannabis cultivation facility totaling approximately 10,000 square feet at 9840 Cody Street.
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. 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. 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 regulations that will apply to Cannabis Manufacturing operations have been drafted by the California Department of Public Health. 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.
Site Plan Review
According to Section 9-6.402 of the City of Coalinga Municipal Code requires that all applicable new structures permanent or temporary erected in the City require a site plan review and approval by the Planning Commission for consistency with all applicable zoning regulations.
The purpose of the site plan review is to enable the Community Development Director or the Planning Commission to make findings that a proposed development is in conformity with the intent and provisions of the Coalinga Municipal Code, and to guide the Building Official in the issuance of permits. The proposed project does not fall under the exempt projects and projects qualifying for Administrative Site Plan Review; therefore, the proposed project requires site plan approval from the Coalinga Planning Commission.
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, include feedback from the necessary City Departments.
III. PROPOSAL AND ANALYSIS:
Site Plan Analysis
Manufacturing and Business Development Regulations
There are several development regulations that staff evaluates prior to recommending approval of a site plan review application. This site plan application has been reviewed for compliance with the Coalinga Planning and Zoning Code and meets all applicable requirements for the proposed use based on type, location and site constraints.
The applicant is proposing to construct a 10,000 square foot indoor commercial cannabis cultivation facility with associated on and off-site improvements.
The primary access point for the development will be on Cody Street. According the Fire Department and City Engineer there is adequate space onsite for public safety maneuvering.
All utilities are readily available for connection on Cody Street. All utility connections shall be shown on the final site plan and approved by the Planning Department and confirmed by the Public Works Department. Improvement plans will be reviewed and approved by the City Engineer.
Storm Runoff: On-site storage of storm runoff will be required to be provided in the undeveloped portion of the parcel and will be screened by wrought iron. The Storm water basin shall be reviewed and approved by the City Engineer.
Gas: Public Natural Gas Facilities exist in Cody Street and are available to serve this development. The applicant shall extend natural gas service to the project site. Gas meters may be located within private property but must be accessible to meter readers.
Water: Public Water Facilities exist in Cody Street and are available to serve this development. The applicant shall extend a water service to the project site. The Public Works Director has recommended that water meters be located on or near the property line to ensure ease of meter reading.
Sewer: Public Sewer Facilities exist in Cody Street and are available to serve this development. The applicant shall extend a sewer lateral to the project site. Sewer clean out will be placed at the property line.
Meters: There shall be meters for both water and natural gas which shall be identified on the final site plan when submitted to the Planning Department for final approval. There will be separate landscape and domestic meters in order to differentiate between landscaped water and domestic water per City policy. Since this is a secure facility the water meters shall be located outside the secured area and gas meters shall be placed in a location that are protected from damage. If gas meters are to be located on-site within the secured area the applicant shall work with Public Works to determine the best practice for reading meters.
In accordance with section 9-4.302 Table 4.4 of the zoning code, the parking requirement for the industrial building is (1) stall for every 1,000 square feet of building space. The proposed development has met the requirement by providing a total of (34) vehicle stalls including (2) accessible space.
The proposed site plan identifies a location for solid waste collection near the southwest portion of the site. Upon final site plan submission, the trash enclosure will be required to meet City Standard for construction and available space for required receptacles.
The proposed landscaping exceeds the city’s minimum requirement for landscaped areas as it relates to site frontage, parking, highway setbacks and equipment screening. A separate landscape plan will be submitted to the Community Development Department for review and approval prior to building permit issuance.
The proposed project is located within 200 feet of a state highway (rear property line) and shall provide a landscaped area at least fifteen (15) feet deep between the highway right-of-way and any building or parking area for the length of the site frontage facing toward the highway. The applicant has provided the adequate setback from the state highway and will provide the required two (2) fifteen (15) gallon trees for every twenty-five (25) feet of site frontage toward the highway. This will be denoted on the final landscape plan but has been provided conceptual on this plan.
All interior fencing shall be of material allowed under the planning and zoning code. All fencing adjacent to public rights or way will be a combination of wrought iron and landscaping or of a decorative block material. All existing dilapidated interior chain link fencing shall be replaced with new chain link fencing where permitted.
Lighting has been reviewed and approved by the Police Department to ensure that there will be no spill over lighting. A photometric plan will be provided, as a condition of approval, to ensure compliance with the requirements of meeting 1.5 foot candle of light site wide. All lighting shall use decorative poles and fixtures with LED technology and avoid HPS lighting in an effort to reduce energy consumption.
In accordance with the zoning regulations related to commercial cannabis facilities, no business-related signage shall be provided except for those federally regulated such as ADA.
The applicant shall furnish and install off-site Curb & Gutter, Sidewalk, Driveway Approach and Street Lighting on Cody Street frontage as approved by the City Engineer. The curb & gutter shall be designed to allow existing storm water flows from the existing northerly dirt swales to continue through the new curb & gutter and exit onto the existing dirt swale to the south.
The property lies within a Zone “A” special flood hazard area inundated by 100 year storm. The applicant shall be required to comply with all federal, state and city regulations (Section 9-8.501) such as construction materials and methods, grading and excavation and other applications which control development in flood prone areas. This has been added as a condition of approval to comply with the applicable section in the planning and zoning code related to floodplain management.
Conditional Use Permit Analysis
The CUP analysis will look at operation criteria such as security, odor control, hours of operation, 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.
In accordance with State Law, “Cultivation” means any activity involving the planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis. In addition, a “Cultivation site” means a location where commercial cannabis is planted, grown, harvested, dried, cured, graded, or trimmed, or a location where any combinations of those activities occurs.
The applicant proposes 10,000 square feet of the facility for indoor cultivation activities. There will be several dedicated large grow rooms with additional work rooms for drying, trimming, water testing, and nutrient storage (manufacturing space). In addition to large grow rooms there will be several grow areas for seedlings as well as vegetative plants. According to the applicant’s application documents, their products will be “Certified Organic” eliminating the exposure to synthetic fertilizers. The applicant will be utilizing both hydroponic grow systems as well as traditional soil-based systems. The facility will be equipped with the proper ventilation to ensure that the smell of cannabis does not emanate beyond the property.
The applicant will be required to obtain a State of California Adult Use and Medicinal Use Cultivation License applicable to the City’s approved permit in addition to meeting all of the regulations adopted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CalCannabis).
General Plan/Zoning Consistency: The location where the manufacturing 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.
Location (9840 Cody Street - Map & Floor Plans Attached): The proposed industrial building located at 9840 Cody Street. It will be a single-story industrial building approximately 10,000 square feet. The building provides space for cultivation, processing (trimming and storage), offices, conference room, break room and restrooms for employees, and a receiving area which will include secured access.
Security: The applicants site protection strategy will address all forms of security concerns and will be required to meet all the security requirements of 9-5.128 of the Planning and Zoning Code as it relates to commercial cannabis activities. The Police Department has reviewed and verified that the security plan including camera placements, access controls, onsite and perimeter security meet the requirements of the code and the satisfaction of the Police Chief (Section 9-5.128). There will be on-site security provided at this site during business hours in accordance with planning and zoning code.
Building Access: All employees and authorized personnel will enter the building at designated entry area after checking with the security personnel at the site entrances who will grant authorization into the facility.
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 production facility is expected to operate (24) hours a day, (7) days a week with approximately 15-20 employees.
Parking: This facility will be accommodated by the (34) parking stalls as shown on the site plan.
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 solvents, and all other hazardous materials on site.
Water Use: The facility is expected to use approximately 60,000 gallons of water per year which is equivalent to two (2) typical households.
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 cultivation process. This shall be reviewed and approved by the Fire Marshall before occupancy.
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
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 August 27, 2020 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.
Class 32 Exemption
Section 15332 of the CEQA Guidelines is as follows:
15332. IN-FILL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
Class 32 consists of projects characterized as in-fill development meeting the conditions described in this section.
- The project is consistent with the applicable general plan designation and all applicable general plan policies as well as with applicable zoning designation and regulations.
- The proposed development occurs within city limits on a project site of no more than five acres substantially surrounded by urban uses.
- The project site has no value as habitat for endangered, rare or threatened species.
- Approval of the project would not result in any significant effects relating to traffic, noise, air quality, or water quality.
- The site can be adequately served by all required utilities and public services.
Summary of Project’s Qualifications for Exemption
The proposed project includes the construction of a new 32,300-s.f. industrial building for cannabis manufacturing, cultivation and distribution and remains consistent with the General Plan designation of MB and zoning designation of MBL. The project site is located within the City of Coalinga limits on a 1.7-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 meets all requirements established by Section 15332 of the CEQA guidelines and can consequently be considered exempt from the provisions of CEQA under a Class 32 exemption.
IV. FISCAL IMPACT:
the project is expected to generate approximately $42,000 (based on 6,000 canopy) in cultivation taxes and $60,000 in annual licensing fees.
V. REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION:
Site Plan Findings for Approval
According to Section 9-6.404 of the Coalinga Municipal Code, the Planning Commission shall consider the following findings to approve a site plan:
- The proposed construction/alterations are in substantial conformance with the General Plan, zoning ordinance, and any applicable plans adopted by the city.
- The proposed construction/alterations conform to the requirements of the applicable Zoning Districts.
- The proposed construction/alteration conforms to all applicable design standards and guidelines, as adopted by the City Council.
- The construction/alteration will not have significant adverse effects on the public health, safety and welfare.
Conditional Use Permit finding of Approval
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.