City Council to revisit pot grow houses and clinics issue

December 17, 2007

, Eureka Reporter (CA)

The issue of regulating marijuana grow houses and clinics returns to the Arcata City Council tonight.

City staff is requesting the council provide direction in preparing draft standards for personal marijuana growing in residential zones based on Senate Bill 420 guidelines and one Proposition 215 recommendation per residence, according to a staff report.


Once standards are established, staff is recommending they be incorporated into the draft land-use code through a public hearing process before the Planning Commission and then taken to the City Council for adoption.

Additionally, the council will consider establishing a medical marijuana working group or task force for regulating medical marijuana clinics.

At its Oct. 17 meeting, the council directed city staff to establish a working group to make recommendations to the Planning Commission and City Council on land-use standards necessary to regulate the location, scale and operations of medical marijuana grows as accessory use in residential zones and clinics in the general commercial and central business district, according to the staff report.

Council members suggested the process be approached much like Humboldt County’s medical marijuana task force.

Staff found that this would require an ordinance, though the City Council has not prepared a draft ordinance for review.

Additionally, funding will be required for a working group or task force, which will involve additional budgeting and long hours on behalf of the committee.

The topic of regulating grow houses and clinics received extensive public comment in previous City Council meetings.

During those meetings, the council reached a consensus on a number of issues, including a need for regulation through the land-use development guide or land-use code and agreement that personal medical marijuana grows in residential zones be allowed only as an accessory use — limited to one grow in any residence and with specific standards.

Additionally, the council confirmed that the commercial and central business district zones are the appropriate land-use designations for medical marijuana clinics, without specifying a cap on the number of clinics allowed per district.

The council also decided it would like to establish citing criteria for clinics to buffer schools and playgrounds.

What the council has not decided, however, is what should constitute accessory residential use for personal marijuana grows.

Other issues the council will be focusing on include determining if any additional regulation of clinics and cooperatives will be needed and what adequate buffers should be in place.

In other business, the council will hold a public hearing to consider adopting a resolution authorizing the submittal of up to a $500,000 CDBG economic enterprise grant to capitalize the city’s business loan fund to create jobs.

The council will also be appointing a member to the Open Space and Agriculture Committee for a term expiring in April 2009, as well as hear an update on Humboldt State University easements, or jurisdiction of property, and an update on a State Transportation Improvement Plan project application.

The Arcata City Council will meet at 6 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

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