CALIFORNIA CITY — Three cannabis permits will be reconsidered by the California City city council when it meets Tuesday night at 6 p.m., according to a city staff report attached to the agenda. The council will also continue discussion of Fiscal Year 2021 city budget.
The meeting will be streamed live from the city's website, www.californiacity-ca.gov under "Video Feed tab. Residents may comment electronically via the city's Grancius service or using a conference call-in line at 800-719-7545, conference code 114803.
The permits for the three delivery businesses — Cal City Natural Delivery, Inc., Grandma's Stash, LLC and MACC Consulting, Inc. — were all revoked and not renewed by the council on April 28.
Mayor Pro Tem Donald Parris had requested the city council to consider permits for the marijuana delivery businesses not under operation a year after those permits had been issued. Parris had noted two businesses operating and another pair about to ramp up service and suggested capping the number of delivery services.
"That pretty well says the state of our cannabis industry," Parris said. "Our city ordinance is very clear that they were required to be up and running four months prior to this date and they have not done so."
The council voted 3-2 to revoke and deny renewal of the three businesses' permits. Mayor Chuck McGuire and and Councilmember Nick Lessenevitch were the dissenting votes.
In his comments, Lessenevitch noted possible litigation if the process was not opened up again.
"Personally, I would like to see some sort of a process that says legal business can come to Cal City and potentially bring us income.
The California City Municipal Code outlines the requirements for cannabis businesses operating in city limits, including the length of a permit's duration and need to renew on an annual basis.
In its appeal, Cal City Natural Delivery Inc, submitted by Raj Milian, cited unfair practices " including and not limited to creation of unnecessary time delays by the city that slowed the process of starting my cannabis business, inability to complete my project due to the COVID-19 shutdown" as well as not being formally notified of the agenda item, time and date and not having the chance to respond the agenda item.
Grandma's Stash's noted in its appeal that it didn't receive its permit until August 2019. Under California City's municipal code, the company stated this would allow time to begin operation.
The Grandma's Stash appeal noted the council's April decision "was based on a misunderstanding of the operative timelines for the parties to perform" and that most permits were issued in April 2019.
"Given that the Ordinance requires that licensees be up and running within 8 months of approval and no later than a year after the approval, the City’s decision has unduly taken away Grandma’s Stash’s right to pursue its permit to completion.
The business also noted that its conditional use permit has been pending since Jan. 21 when it was originally slated to be heard. It claims the city has since delayed the CUP twice up until the April 28 decision.
"We believe the delayed approval of Grandma’s Stash’s delivery license approval combined with the delay of the review of our CUP has unjustly taken away our right to pursue a license that was granted to us by the City," the appeal states. "The one year timeline discussed by the Council in its hearing does not apply to Grandma’s Stash who was not issued its license until August 23, 2020 and, but for the council’s￼￼ postponement of our CUP hearing, Grandma’s Stash would have been able to complete its permit prior to the City’s decision to suspend all processing and issuance of Cannabis Delivery Permits."
The council will also hold a public hearing on the Aspen Mall Landscape and Lighting District's assessments for Fiscal Year 2020-2021, as well as initiating proceedings for water stand by fees in the upcoming fiscally year.
The water standby charge is annual procedure to place the fee on the city's property tax roll and schedule a public hearing for July 14.
The amount of this charge ranges from $15 to $25 per year and is charged to "to undeveloped parcels that, when developed, will receive service from the City's existing water system."
Council will also hear a proposed acre-foot water rate from Public Works Director Joe Barragan in "an effort to charge a fair rate that will better reflect the cost of service."
Barragan's staff report notes that only three entities in the city would qualify for such a rate and could result in an estimated loss of $790,000 for the city's water department.
The upside: it would save the city's general fund $759,956 a year.
"The City will be able to afford to keep our golf course, parks, street center medians, and ballparks green with grass and landscaping," Barragan's staff report states.
To view the full agenda, visit https://www.californiacity-ca.gov/CC/index.php/city-council-agendas-minutes/2020