The Kenwood Press
News: 08/15/2018

Plans for Oakmont cannabis dispensary made official

Alec Peters

Despite strong opposition from Oakmont residents as well as the Oakmont Village Association’s (OVA) Board of Directors, it appears that plans for an adult and medical cannabis dispensary are moving forward.

In July, Herbal Holistics got a note from city planners that their application was complete, kicking off the formal, lengthy planning process.

Herbal Holistics wants to open the dispensary in a medical office building at 6575 Oakmont Dr., between Stone Bridge Road and White Oak Drive.

In the spring, the owners of Herbal Holistics engaged in a preliminary exploration of the project, holding a neighborhood meeting at city adminstrative offices in Santa Rosa. There, the proprietors heard Oakmonters voice a number of objections to the dispensary. Over 1,000 residents have signed a petition in opposition, hundreds of emails have been sent to city planners, and the OVA’s board took an official unanimous “no” position.

Among the problems Oakmont residents have with the dispensary idea include traffic concerns – if out-of-the-area vehicles are coming from the direction of Sonoma Highway onto Oakmont Drive, access to the medical building’s parking lot would require a U-turn at White Oak and Oakmont Drive. Crime potential is another concern brought up by Oakmonters, as well as compatibility issues with surrounding Oakmont neighborhoods and businesses.

The proposal calls for an adult and medical cannabis dispensary in a 1,492-square-foot portion of the building. It’s anticipated that there would be six employees. Hours of operation would be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. A security guard would be on duty during all hours of operation.

In their application, proprietors Ted Meeker and Dr. Kenneth Hammonds, both Navy veterans, wrote that the dispensary, “would be dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of individuals who benefit from the use of cannabis.”

The application states that the proposal complies with all state and local cannabis regulations.

“The stability and quality of the surrounding neighborhoods of Oakmont and the eastern corridor is something Herbal Holistics will work hard to preserve,” the application states. The proposal also mentions that the community would benefit from the economic activity and the addition of jobs, educational programs, and the dispensary’s contributions to charities.

Interested parties had until Aug. 14 to provide initial comments to the city about the proposal. The city’s planning commission will eventually hear the permit request – its decision is appealable to the Santa Rosa City Council.