By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):
Source: City of Needles (Information and Agenda Packet):
Downtown Needles, California: Members of the Needles City Council has voted in majority against a conditional use permit for a retail cannabis business in downtown.
The vote occurred during their regular meeting being held on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021.
Voting via teleconference, Needles City Council Member Campbell vote “Yes” well Needles City Council Members Evans, Merritt and Belts voted “No” well present inside the Needles City Council Chambers.
More information will be posted later here on this post.
According to documents from the City of Needles, the applicant, Arman Solimani, representative for “TopKotes” “MRA Enterprises,” is proposing development of a retail cannabis business, through tenant improvements to an existing 1,194-square-foot building and a 630-square-foot garage with a total building foot print of 1,824 Sq. Ft, located at 1312 Broadway, with onsite parking to be constructed on a vacant parcel located at 1315 Front Street, conditioned to be merged prior to receiving a Certificate of Occupancy (See Attachment C). Each parcel is approximately .16 acres in size (see Attachment A, Project Location, and Attachment B, Existing Site Plan).
The project site is located in a developed portion of the city, situated on two, 0.16-acre lots, zoned Commercial to be merged, that was previously used as a residence fronting Broadway Street, and until recently, formally converted into a real estate office known as “River Sisters” (see Attachment H, Site Photos). To the north is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad followed by the Rotary Roadside Rest Stop, residences, and commercial uses. To the south are residences and commercial uses. To the east are residences followed by the BNSF railroad. To the west are commercial uses (fronting Broadway Street) including cannabis businesses and a residence (on a hill) followed by Interstate 40 freeway.
The proposed project will include interior improvements to the commercial building for the retail cannabis business, the conversion of the existing garage to a secured storage area , and removal of an existing shed (see Attachment C, Proposed Site Plan and Attachment D, Floor Plans). The vacant lot, i.e. 1315 Front Street, upon completion of the parcel merge, would undergo construction for a 10-stall parking (Includes 1 ADA stall) lot with driveway access off of Front Street to provide parking for customers and employees. A secondary access would also be provided via a one-way driveway from Broadway Street. As shown in Attachment I, Landscape Plan, landscaping would be installed in front of the building fronting Broadway Street and at the parking lot entrance fronting Front Street.
The retail business will employ two (2) full-time employees and two (2) part-time employees. The facility’s hours of operation are proposed to be seven days a week from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Monday through Sunday. Attachment D shows the one-story building’s interior layout.
Security measures have been incorporated into the project. As shown in Attachments C, outside security cameras will be mounted at all corners of the building and at the main door entrance. Inside cameras will be mounted in all areas of the interior to ensure full coverage (see Attachment D).
The project has been conditioned to require the merge of two parcels, APN 0185-157-02-0000 and 0185-157-12-0000, prior to receiving the release of the building permit.
The matter was heard before the Planning Commission at the October 20, 2021 meeting, with written comments from community members opposed to the project, as follows:
Mr. J. Qualkenbush, 1310 West Broadway, abutting the project site, expressing concern that the cannabis businesses will not be able to provide tax revenue sustainability; bring an undesirable crowd of people into the City; and prefers not to have this type of business as a neighbor.
Kevin and Marie Andrade, expressing concern that the added traffic at that location will create a dangerous situation.
Mr. Mark and Darla Walters, 120 J Street, expressing concern with the unpleasant odors that will flow outdoors from this facility.
Planning Commissioners’, having heard the information provided by city staff and project applicant, as well as testimony from the public, voted unanimously to recommend approval to City Council of the Conditional Use Permit for an 1,824 Sq. Ft. Retail Cannabis Business, in the C-2 (General Commercial) Zone at 1312 Broadway Street, also known as APN 0185-157-02-0000 and 1315 Front Street, Also Known as 0185-157-12-0000 with the added conditions:
- Installation of a gate on the east side of the building to ensure general traffic does not have access to the driveway that is too narrow to accommodate most vehicles
- Signage at the driveway entry points to alert drivers of the crosswalk and pedestrians
- Installation of a type of fence, 6 ft. tall, that can provide screening between the project site, both parcels, and the abutting property(s) on the east side.
Conditional Use Permit Findings.
In accordance with Section 94.07, the Planning Commission must make the following findings for a Conditional Use Permit:
- That the requested permit is within its jurisdiction according to the table of permissible uses.
- The application is complete.
- The use is consistent with the General Plan.
- The use will be in harmony with the area in which it is to be located.
- The use will not materially endanger the public health or safety.
- The use will not substantially injure the value of adjoining or abutting property.
- That the project overall is consistent with the preceding findings.
Members of the Needles Planning Commission unanimously voted approving the conditional use permit for a retail cannabis business despite anger from local residence regarding downtown location.
*** More information as well as view the live broadcast about what happened during the regular meeting of the Needles Planning Commission on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 only at ZachNews: ***
Public Notification: A public hearing notice was only published in the Needles Desert Star on Wednesday, October 27, 2021. Notices were also sent to property owners within 300 feet of the proposed project and posted in two conspicuous locations.
As for the fiscal impact, the City of Needles said in the documents:
- The 10% of gross sales of medical marijuana business tax (voter approved (2012).
- Valuation of new buildings — added to city tax rolls.
- NPUA — electric/water/sewer usage revenue.
- Recurring business license and permitting fees.
- A 25% State tax a portion of which will be passed to local government, as enacted by the approval of Proposition 64 in November 2016.
- Statewide 10% sales tax, the city’s share is 1%.
As for the environmental, the City of Needles said in the documents that this project is also categorically exempt under the California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA Guidelines, Section 15301(a), Class 1, pursuant to interior or exterior alterations of existing facilities involving such things as interior partitions, plumbing, and electrical conveyances. The proposed use will involve tenant improvements to an existing commercial building.
The recommended action to members of the Needles City Council is to approve Resolution No. 2021-71 Approving a Conditional Use Permit For an 1,824 Sq. Ft. Retail Cannabis Business, in the C-2 (General Commercial) Zone at 1312 Broadway Street, also known As APN 0185-157-02-0000 and 1315 Front Street, Also Known as 0185-157-12-0000.
*** Agenda Packet for Agenda Item #1 (Unless otherwise noted, all downloadable agenda packets that are posted here are in a PDF file format so please make sure to have a PDF file reader or viewer): ***
For more information, please contact Dale Jones, City Clerk at the City of Needles at: 1 (760) 326-2113.