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Monday, October 16, 2017

San Leandro dispensary faces another hurdle as permit deadline extension nears

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter has
publicly opposed the proposed site of the 
Davis Street Wellness Center dispensary.
SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL
San Leandro city administration is standing firm in its stance against the conditional-use permit for a medical cannabis dispensary near a non-profit clinic and shelter for the poor, according to a staff report.

Earlier this month, the San Leandro Board of Zoning and Adjustments (BZA) rejected a city staff recommendation to deny a use permit for the Davis Street Wellness Center, one of three approved dispensary permits, to house its dispensary in building that houses the non-profit Davis Street Family Resource Center on Teagarden Street. The zoning board directed staff to return with positive findings of fact and conditions for approval of the dispensary site at its next meeting scheduled for Nov. 2.

However, the city staff report released last week, notes the council-approved extension of the Davis Street Wellness Center's one-year conditional-use permit expires on Oct. 20. "Based on this schedule, the applicant will be unable to meet the City Council’s extended deadline to secure a Conditional Use Permit," wrote San Leandro Assistant City Manager Jeff Kay.

One remedy to clear up the conflicting time lines, according to the city staff report, is for the council to decide Monday night whether to grant yet another extension, possibly to Jan. 19.

For months, the city administration and representatives from Davis Street Wellness Center have strongly disagreed over the legality of a one-year deadline to locate an approved site for their dispensary.

During a council meeting in July 2016 to award the dispensary permit, Davis Street representatives publicly agreed to the one-year amendment, a fact the city administration often highlights. In fact, a video clip of the agreement was emailed by the city manager to Davis Street's attorney as a rebuttal to claims the deadline was invalid.

In July, the council ultimately voted to extend the deadline and allow the applicant due process through the city's zoning process.

Despite concerns by the city that the Davis Street Wellness Center's conditional-use permit lacked secured parking, in addition, to a medical cannabis dispensary at the proposed location not being a permitted use, the zoning board voted, 6-1, to approve the location.

However, if an extension is granted by the council Monday, the zoning board's decision, according to observers, could face a more rigorous opposition if appealed to the City Council by a member of the public. Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter has publicly opposed the Davis Street proposal, as has Councilmember Lee Thomas.

San Leandro, unlike other cities in the East Bay, has no mechanism for the City Council or mayor to review zoning decisions.

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