Commission Rejects City's Recommendation, Denies Marijuana Retailer Permit to Open Storefront

Contentious commercial cannabis scene complicated by the Commission’s permit rejection, even as City Manager starts process to rewrite some of the rules

Published : Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 5:28 AM

The City’s Planning Commission Wednesday denied a Conditional Use Permit for Integral Associates to open a retail marijuana storefront at 908 E. Colorado Blvd. (upper right). Earlier, an application by SweetFlower LLC for a store at 827 E. Colorado Blvd. was rejected by the Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and the City Council (at left). However all of these actions could be overridden if changes in City law proposed Wednesday by City Manager Steve Mermell become effective.

Voting down the recommendation of Pasadena’s Planning Department, the City’s Planning Commission Wednesday denied a Conditional Use Permit for a cannabis retailer seeking to open a store at 908 East Colorado Boulevard.

The permit application for Integral Associates Dena LLC needed five votes for approval but got only three, with four Commissioners voting no.

“Very disappointing performance,” said local attorney and Integral community advisor Richard A. McDonald after the vote. “We will definitely appeal.”

Integral is the only commercial cannabis applicant in the running to open a storefront in District 7 after competing SweetFlower LLC’s application for a nearby location 827 E. Colorado Blvd. was twice rejected by the City.

In August, Pasadena’s Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-1 to uphold a decision to reject SweetFlower’s Conditional Use Permit after it decided the company failed to meet a requirement that called for a mapping report prepared by a licensed surveyor.

Then on October 7 the City Council cemented Integral’s supremacy in District 7 by rejecting SweetFlower’s ultimate appeal.

Hours before the Planning Commission denied the Conditional Use Permit for Integral, Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell announced he had initiated a process for the Planning Commission and the City Council to consider a change to local law that would allow the six highest-rated cannabis applicants to seek to locate on the sites that they have identified.

If approved, would modify the location requirements set forth in the Zoning Code and other applicable sections, in order to allow up to three cannabis retailers per Council district and also to decrease the minimum distance between cannabis retailers from 1,000 feet to 450 feet.

It appears possible that Mermell’s initiative could allow both Integral and SweetFlower to open storefronts, about one block from each other near Pasadena’s major Lake Avenue / Colorado intersection.

Mermell said in a statement that his proposed amendments will go before the Planning Commission on November 13.

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