CALIFORNIA CITY – A development agreement for marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and distribution facilities was approved by a 3-1 vote at the Jan. 28 City Council meeting. Attil Farms has been developing a facility on approximately 17 acres along California City Boulevard just east of the railroad tracks at Maverick Street.

The agreement calls for landscaping in front of the property, improvements to the intersection with California City Boulevard, relocating electrical poles, adding acceleration and deceleration lanes and turning lanes and replacing the fence of the neighboring residence. Improvements to the intersection with California City Boulevard would be to Caltrans standards.

 In exchange, the city will reserve 100 marijuana permits for Attil Farms. The company has already drilled its own agricultural water well and installed a meter to use until the city is able to connect the business to city water service.

Council Member Ron Smith cast the dissenting vote and questioned the value of the agreement to the city.

“I’m not really seeing a whole lot that we’re getting,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Don Parris said he was concerned if the city was authorized to award 100 permits at this time.

“This is more for reservation,” said City Planner Shawn Monk. “It’s basically guaranteeing them the option of up to 100 permits.”

Parris said that since the entire council and mayor are up for reelection in November, he didn’t think they should bind the new council to this kind of agreement.

“Right now we have an unlimited ability to issue permits in certain categories – except for the mobile and retail dispensaries, that’s limited,” said City Attorney Christian Bettenhausen. “What you’re promising, of course, is that right now it’s unlimited, but you could change that. When you enter into an agreement like this, where they’re giving the city something in exchange for a development agreement – you’re reserving to them the right that you won’t change that rule with respect to these 100.”

Public comment was all favorable and included Planning Commission Chairman Jim Creighton. The commission had already approved the agreement.

“When I do get up here, generally speaking, I’m a citizen,” he said. “I’m not addressing anyone as a commissioner. But, as of right now, I am.”

Creighton said a 35-foot easement is providing a frontage road, of sorts, that would benefit properties to the west of the development.

“So that is something for the citizens,” he said. “Utilities are going to be installed, underground – something the city doesn’t have to pay for.”

He also noted that Maverick would be improved, including paving, which would also benefit at least one residence.

Bettenhausen did recommend adding a sentence to the agreement clarifying that the guaranteed permits would not include delivery or retail store front businesses. Attil Farms does already have a delivery-only business license.

The term of the agreement is three years following the start of commercial operations.

In other business, a request for repair to a city-owned grader in the amount of $16,820 was tabled until after the mid-year budget review. These types of expenditures require a four-fifths vote and Smith said he would not be willing to approve until after the review and because of the current council vacancy, Bettenhausen said a unanimous vote would be required for passage.

A public hearing for a proposed ordinance establishing a residential Tiny Homes zoning district was continued to a later date.

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