City Council To Take Up Loosening Cannabis Requirements Tonight

Published : Monday, November 25, 2019 | 5:42 AM

The Pasadena City Council. File photo

The Pasadena City Council will take up the City Manager’s proposal to loosen some requirements in Pasadena’s cannabis ordinance at its meeting tonight.

The Planning Commission rejected the proposal on Nov. 13, but that action was a recommendation, according to Commissioner Felicia Williams.

The matter was headed to City Council regardless of the Planning Commission’s disposition toward the proposed amendments.

“Commissions can recommend, but only the City Council adopts,” explained Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian.

The original ordinance’s requirement that there be only one cannabis store in each City Council District meant that two of the three applicants applying for a conditional use permit on Colorado Boulevard got locked out of the process.

Harvest of Pasadena was the first to file its application and was granted the district. SweetFlower and Atrium, two other applicants for the same bailiwick had their requests rejected.

Each had already been through the first phase of the application process and were among the six winners. With two eliminated, the City was looking at just four stores, when the ordinance permitted six.

Sweet Flower of Pasadena appealed. Atrium sued the City in federal court. Some applicants who did not make the final cut have also raised hackles about the process and filed appeals.

City Manager Steven Mermell proposed to loosen things up a bit by junking the one store per district requirement and reducing the distance separation requirement from 1,000 feet to 450 feet.

The action could revive the prospects of both spurned applicants and render Atrium’s lawsuit unnecessary from the plaintiff’s perspective.

“If the City Council approves the changes in the zoning rules that are being proposed by the City Manager and Planning Department, things would be very different,” Atrium representative Larry Mondragon told Pasadena Now by email.

“Under the proposed amendments, Atrium’s Union Street location would become an eligible location and the Company’s CUP application would finally be able to be considered by the Planning Commission.”

But Williams argued that the proposed amendments “go against the will of the voters,” who backed a one-store-per-district ballot initiative.

“Secondly,” said Williams, “amending the zoning code is a very big deal. I was concerned that we should only do it for a strict public purpose. What public good does it provide, what public benefits?”

The public hearing on the proposed amendments to the cannabis ordinance is scheduled to open Monday night a 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers at Pasadena City Hall, 100 North Garfield Avenue, Pasadena.

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