Apothevert should be granted a use permit
By Jani Friedman
As the proprietor of Apothevert, which has applied for a permit to operate a medical cannabis dispensary near the village of Glen Ellen, I wish to apprise our community of information about the business plans and address concerns that have been raised.
The application complies with Sonoma County Limited Commercial zoning requirements, meets all regulations issued by the Sonoma County Board of Zoning Adjustments and the Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD) stipulations as documented in Ordinance No. 6189, and adheres to California state law. The permit process does not require an applicant to provide evidence of community support, although we have taken extra steps to gain such support.
In the November 2016 election, 68.2 percent of the Glen Ellen precinct voted in favor of legalizing medical cannabis; 59 percent of greater Sonoma County voted in favor of legalization. The people have spoken: the law has been established and Apothevert is in compliance.
Codes require exhaust and ventilation systems, accessibility, and security, including outdoor lighting, cameras, and alarms. Security staff will be an added precaution.
Legal operating hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., however in consideration of our neighbors’ morning commutes, the business will open at 10 a.m.
No signs will advertise the availability of cannabis; no windows are on the ground floor.
There will be no significant impact on local traffic or corner visibility, per W-Trans, traffic engineering consultants.
Credit cards can be used; limited cash will be on hand.
The existing iconic firehouse exterior and visually pleasing landscaping will remain.
Statistics demonstrate that a surrounding community is actually safer with a dispensary than without one. Police and sheriff patrol routes will likely be adjusted.
In choosing a location for a medical cannabis dispensary in unincorporated Sonoma County, near the city of Sonoma, two limitations played a determining role – the zoning ordinance and the current commercial real estate market.
The property is within 100 feet of a residential zoning district, however, an actual physical separation exists between land uses such that no off-site impacts could occur. There are existing physical separations on all four sides of the parcel – two by other commercial properties, and two by major roadways, a precedent set by PRMD throughout Sonoma County.
The business requires a location that is appropriately zoned and a seller who is willing to sell or lease. Commercial real estate agents in Sonoma County can attest that there are very few of these opportunities that meet both parameters at any given time, regardless of cost. One was found that meets the zoning requirements and the owner was able to provide an option-to-purchase that allowed for an unpredictable and lengthy permit approval process.
In summary, the Apothevert application is for a standard use permit for a legal California business entity. This is not a zoning change or special use exception. This application is dependent on adherence to state and local laws, regulations, codes and ordinances and, therefore, Apothevert should be granted a use permit.
We have undertaken extensive efforts to ensure our business is professional, welcoming, safe, upscale, and will positively impact our surroundings. We look forward to joining the community as a vital contributing business partner and necessary support for medical cannabis patients, providing local jobs and tax revenue.