SALINAS — Denied by the county Planning Commission, Salinas construction magnate Don Chapin is set to make his case for a cannabis shop and operation at the former McShane’s Nursery site to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
During its afternoon session starting at 1 p.m., the county board is scheduled to consider Chapin’s appeal of the commission’s Aug. 12 rejection of a use permit application for a cannabis retail store, edibles manufacturing facility and cannabis cultivation in existing buildings on the site just outside Salinas city limits off Monterey-Salinas Highway.
The commission voted 9-1 two months ago to deny the Chapin bid with partner and fellow construction industry figure Ricky Cabrera for the cannabis use permit based on the argument that cannabis retail is not currently allowed on a site zoned for agricultural uses, which does allow cultivation and manufacturing with a general development plan amendment and an administrative permit.
Chapin argued during the commission hearing and again during his appeal that he is merely seeking to add cannabis as an “additional agricultural product” to a “mix” of such products already being offered on the site, which he suggested the county had previously affirmed by allowing previous sales there and had no legally supportable reason to deny now.
Staff recommended denial of the appeal based on the application’s inconsistency with the site’s Farmland zoning, though it also offered the county board three options if it decides to uphold the appeal and move ahead with the cannabis retail bid, including:
- amend the county zoning code to allow cannabis retail in the Farmland zone, a change that would apply countywide;
- change the site’s zoning from Farmland to Commercial;
- or, adopt a Special Treatment Area to specifically allow cannabis retail on the site, which staff indicated they would prefer.
Staff noted that they repeatedly told Chapin and his representatives that county zoning didn’t allow marijuana sales on the proposed site, but were told to continue processing the proposal anyway.
The Chapin proposal calls for using an existing 4,760-square-foot building previously used for retail nursery sales as a commercial cannabis dispensary and edibles manufacturing facility, as well as a 42-foot by 72-foot barn also previously used as retail space for commercial cannabis overflow.
An existing 1,080-square foot greenhouse would be used to grow cannabis for demonstration and education purposes only, and not for commercial sales.
An existing office building would be used as an office, and two smaller buildings would be used for non-cannabis commercial sales and to store accessories.
A nursery and landscape business has existed on the site since the 1980s, though the previous nursery business was discontinued a few years ago while McShane’s Landscaping business continues to operate on the site.
Also Tuesday, the county board is set to hear a report on the Lake Nacimiento resort and operations enterprise fund that shows a $1.4 million loss through the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year, recommends a transfer of that amount from general fund contingencies to cover quagga mussel, trailer fire insurance and the lake’s enterprise fund used to pay for operations last year, and projects a $361,870 loss for the current fiscal year.
The board is also scheduled to hear reports on the county’s COVID-19 response and County Behavioral Health Bureau’s implementation of the Mobile Response Team services for children and youth.
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