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Cannabis Dispensary To Appear Before Planning Commission

Published on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 | 3:27 pm
 

Varda Inc. will go before the Planning Commission on Wednesday for a public hearing on a Conditional Use Permit.

Local resident Tony Fong is hoping his cannabis dispensary becomes the third one to receive a Conditional Use Permit in the city’s process.

“I look forward to it,” Fong said. “I think it will be a fair process. The city has been very helpful.”

If Varda Inc.’s conditional use permit is approved, it would hold the only commercial cannabis retailer permit in Council District 4, the Planning Department said.

The company has filed to operate retail sales at a vacant commercial building located at the north side of Colorado Boulevard, between North Kinneloa Avenue and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue, near a lumber yard.

The single-story, single tenant building was constructed in 1959 and has been occupied by various businesses, including a furniture store, golf supply store and a paint store.

It has remained vacant in recent years, although some improvements and site upgrades, including accessibility upgrades, were completed in 2019, according to a report by the Department of Planning and Community Development.

Varda’s application is for a 5,680 square-foot retail cannabis dispensary within the building, proposing some interior improvements and minor exterior alterations. The floor plan identifies a dedicated sales floor area and point-of-sales that will encompass 2,624 square feet in addition to a 467-square-foot lobby or waiting foyer, a 113-square-foot consultation area and 198 square feet with kiosks for digital sales.

The remaining square footage, about 2,322 square feet, will be used as storage space and employee-only access areas. Varda Inc. proposes operating hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Varda Inc. could be the last dispensary to receive a Conditional Use Permit in the city’s process.

In June 2019, the Atrium Group, Harvest of Pasadena, Integral Associates Dena, Tony Fong, Sweet Flower Pasadena and MME Pasadena Retail beat out 116 other applicants and won the right to apply for a CUP to operate in Pasadena.

Harvest and Integral have received CUPs, Sweetflower and Atrium did not advance in the process, and MME Pasadena in danger of being disqualified— so far city officials have not revealed what would happen if the company which does business around the country as MedMen is removed.

The city’s cannabis ordinance allows for up to six dispensaries, but does not guarantee six, so there is no guarantee one of the previous contenders will be allowed back in the process.

MME and Varda were originally supposed to come before the commission in April, but that hearing was scrapped after correspondence from Sweetflower CEO Tim Dodd pointed out the upheaval and turnover at MME Pasadena Retail.

At least seven people have left the company that were on the company’s application and a material change in the company’s direction.

The revelation led to a probe of all of the dispensaries. All of them were cleared save MME Retail.

“I think one of them will get a CUP,” said Richard McDonald, Integral attorney. “I don’t know which one it will be.”

Members of the community may access the virtual meeting through Zoom, at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81244094396, or by calling (669) 900-6833 and using the webinar ID 812 4409 4396.

Public-comments may be submitted in advance by email to tmolinar@cityofpasadena.net prior to the meeting day.

On Wednesday, anyone wishing to submit a comment can do so in not more than 200 words through www.cityofpasadena.net/planning/publiccomment.

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