A hearing to consider a permit for a cannabis dispensary on North State Street was delayed again after a member of the Ukiah Planning Commission questioned whether or not there was a school operating near the proposed site.
Commissioner Mike Whetzel said that when he visited the business proposing to sell cannabis, as well as conduct non-volatile manufacturing of the product, at 441 N. State Street, he saw the “Pomo College Preparatory Academy” at 307 N. State Street.
“And I don’t know if it is just their offices or they have classes there, but if it is a school, it needs to be 600 feet from the dispensary, and it is only 400 feet away,” Whetzel said.
“I’m not aware of any school located at the corner, and we’ll have to check into it,” said Community Development Director Craig Schlatter, suggesting that the hearing be postponed until the commission’s May 13 meeting to allow planning staff to investigate. The commission agreed to postpone the hearing.
According to a 2018 story in the UDJ, the “Academic Success Center, located at 307 N. State Street, focuses on helping Native American students in Ukiah Unified School District get college and career counseling advice and academic tutoring needed to get them on the path to college. The center has activities set up for art, science and math subjects, including STEM and computer programing.”
When asked this week if his staff had determined if the center would preclude the proposed dispensary from opening, Schlatter said they were still investigating the matter and would have an answer prepared for the May 13 meeting of the Planning Commission.
When asked by Commissioner Linda Sanders why a hearing on the dispensary was being held at all given the limited amount of activities being allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Schlatter explained that “cannabis dispensaries are one of the businesses allowed to be open, so this is both an essential business and a project that was deemed essential.”
If allowed, the dispensary will be operating in an existing, two-story building that was a residence converted into office space. Planning staff said that the first floor “will have a retail dispensary and complimentary spa treatments in a holistic retreat area,” and the second floor will host “non-volatile manufacturing (described as the) packaging of raw cannabis into pre-roll, no distilling involved.”