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File #: 21-0896    Version: 1
Type: Appeals/Public Hearings
In control: Planning Commission
Final action:
Title: AMENDMENT TO COMMISSION USE PERMIT (P17-0134) FOR CANNABIS STOREFRONT RETAILER TO ALLOW THE EXPANSION OF A CANNABIS STOREFRONT RETAILER BUSINESS WITHIN A 31,780 SQUARE FOOT INDUSTRIAL BUILDING AT 2401/2403 STAGECOACH ROAD (APPLICATION NO. P21-0311) (APN 173-320-18)
Attachments: 1. Attachment A - Location Map, 2. Attachment B - Approved Resolutions, 3. Attachment C - Existing Cannabis Business Locations, 4. Attachment D - P18-0720 Approved Site Plan, 5. Attachment E - Project Plans, 6. Resolution - Recommending Approval, 7. Exhibit 1 - Project Plans
Related files: 21-0694

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AMENDMENT TO COMMISSION USE PERMIT (P17-0134) FOR CANNABIS STOREFRONT RETAILER TO ALLOW THE EXPANSION OF A CANNABIS STOREFRONT RETAILER BUSINESS WITHIN A 31,780 SQUARE FOOT INDUSTRIAL BUILDING AT 2401/2403 STAGECOACH ROAD (APPLICATION NO. P21-0311) (APN 173-320-18)

 

recommended action

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt a resolution:

 

1.                     Finding that the proposed project is categorically exempt from CEQA, pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15301(a) (Existing Facilites) since the project will occupy an existing facility and no expansion of building or site is proposed.

 

2.                     Approving an Amendment to a Use Permit for a Cannabis Retailer Storefront Business (P17-0134) to allow an 13,159 square foot floor area expansion within a 31,780 square foot industrial building, based on findings and subject to conditions in the proposed resolution.

 

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SUMMARY


The applicant, Cipriano Sulamo (dba Treebird Company, LLC), submitted an application requesting an amendment to an existing Use Permit for a Cannabis Storefront Retailer to authorize the expansion of floor area within an existing industrial building on an Industrial,General (IG) zoned parcel at 2401/2403 Stagecoach Road (APN 173-320-180) (Attachment A - Location Map). The existing Use Permit allows for a maximum floor area use of 9,400 square feet (sq. ft.) within an existing 31,780 sq. ft. warehouse building.  The applicant is proposing an approximate 13,159 sq. ft. expansion within the existing building.  The expansion will provide for the conduct of cannabis distribution and non-volatile manufacturing uses which are allowed by-right (meaning no Use Permit approval required) for pre-existing Cannabis Storefront Retailer businesses in industrial zoning districts.

 

 

The proposed amendment aligns with the following General Plan 2040 goals and policies:

 

                     Goal CH-3: Expand opportunities for local enterprise, entrepreneurship, and gainful employment.

 

                     Policy LU-4.2: Attract employment and tax-generating businesses that support the economic diversity of the city.

 

                     Policy LU-5.5: Compatible Land Use: The City shall ensure an adequate separation between sensitive land uses (residential, educational, healthcare) and industrial land uses to minimize land use incompatibility associated noise, odors, and air pollutant emissions from industrial uses.

 

As conditioned in the accompanying Resolution, the project complies with all applicable provisions of the Stockton Municipal Code (SMC), including the location requirements for non-volatile manufacturing and distribution by-right uses outlined in SMC Section 16.80.195(E)(4) and 16.80.195(F)(4) which require seperation from sensitive uses (i.e. residential zones, parks, schools, etc.).

 

As reflected in the staff analysis below, the applicant would enhance an existing business with the potential to strengthen the integrity of the surrounding area by expanding operations into a vacant portion of the existing building and providing local employment, accomplished in a manner that does not jeopardize or result in a hazard to public peace and welfare. Therefore, staff recommends approval of the proposed Use Permit amendment.

 

DISCUSSION

Background

On August 10, 2017, the Planning Commission considered a Use Permit application to establish a cannabis dispensary at 2401 Stagecoach Road (subject property). Objections were raised by the Planning Commission based on a perceived concentration of cannabis businesses in Central/South Stockton at that time. A motion to approve the permit failed resulting in a denial. The applicant (Chris Hester/Stagecoach Dispensary) subsequently appealed the denial to the City Council. On October 17, 2017, the City Council overturned the Planning Commission denial and approved the permit (Attachment B - Approved Resolutions) and, in doing so, authorized a maximum floor area of 6,000 sq. ft.

 

In 2018, the applicant (Chris Hester/2401 Stagecoach, LLC) submitted a Use Permit Amendment application (P18-0720) to authorize the expansion of the previously approved cannabis dispensary Use Permit (P17-0134). The expansion occurred within the existing warehouse, increasing the dispensary’s maximum authorized floor area of 6,000 sq. ft. by approximately 3,400 sq. ft, for a total of 9,400 sq. ft. The expansion allowed the utilization of an enclosed delivery area at the northwest corner of the building. On February 14, 2019, the Planning Commission approved the amendment and in doing so, authorized the expansion of the previously approved Use Permit to increase the total floor area to 9,400 square feet (see Attachment D, P18-0720 Approved Site Plan). 

 

On March 5, 2019, and July 16, 2019, the City Council approved additional items to the Cannabis Regulatory Program, including ‘by-right’ allowances for existing Cannabis Permit Operators. Allowances included the following additional ‘by-right’ land uses for pre-existing storefront retail and cultivation businesses:

 

“By-Right” Uses

Pre-Existing Businesses

 

Storefront Retailer

Cultivation

 

Date Granted

Cultivation

N/A

-

Distribution

7/16/19

3/5/19

Volatile Manufacturing

N/A

N/A

Non-Volatile Manufacturing

7/16/19

3/5/19

Testing

N/A

N/A

Storefront Retailer

-

7/16/19

Non-Storefront Retail (delivery)

3/5/19

3/5/19

Microbusiness

N/A

N/A

 

As a point of reference, Staff has provided a location map of currently approved cannabis retail storefront, distribution, and manufacturing businesses as an attachment to this report (Attachment C - Existing Commercial Cannabis Businesses).

 

 

The current application concerns a further expansion of an additional 13,159 sq. ft. into the neighboring suite of the same existing 31,780 square foot industrial building, for a total of 22,559 sq.ft., identified as 2403 Stagecoach Road. The site is zoned Industrial, General (IGl), is located immediately east of U.S. 99, and is bounded to the:

 

                     North by Peterson Road and industrial uses zoned IG and Industrial, Limited (IL)

                     East by Stagecoach Road and industrial uses zoned IG

                     West and South by various industrial uses zoned IG

 

Present Situation

 

The existing 31,780 sq. ft. building is currently divided into two suites, 2401 and 2403 Stagecoach Road, which is within one building on the same 1.34-acre parcel. The applicant is seeking approval for a major change to the previously approved Commission Use Permit (P17-0134) to expand into the adjacent suite (2403 Stagecoach Road) and increase the floor area by an additional 13,159 square feet, bringing the total square feet of the use permit to 22,559 (Attachment E - Project Plans), utilizing approximately seventy-one percent (71%) of the existing building. Additionally, the expansion enables the applicant to utilize the additional floor area of the warehouse to conduct Distribution and Non-volatile manufacturing, which are allowed by-right uses.

 

While the Distribution and Non-volatile manufacturing uses are allowed by-right per SMC section 16.80.195, the proposed expansion requires Planning Commission approval as the subject project is considered a major change per SMC 16.104.030, as it involves an increase in square footage of more than ten percent (10%). This change requires the original review authority, which in this case is the Planning Commission, to conduct the same type of review as that conducted for the original permit.

 

The proposed site is located within the Stockton Triangle Industrial Park subdivision; and the entire neighborhood is zoned for industrial uses. The surrounding uses include a material handling solutions facility to the north; a distributor and fabrication facility to the east; a landscaping company to the south; and a door manufacturer to the west.

 

If the amendment to the Commission Use Permit is approved, a formal security plan and lighting plan will be submitted and reviewed by the Police Department as part of a new Operators Permit application to help ensure safe operations, per SMC Section 5.100.050.

 

The proposed 13,159 sq. ft. expansion requires an additional seven (7) parking spaces based on the required 1 space per 2,000 square foot parking ratio for cannabis distribution and manufacturing uses (SMC 16.64.040, Table 3-9). Given that the currently approved site plan provided an additional eight (8) spaces over minimum requirements, there is available parking to meet the required additional spaces, leaving one (1) surplus space for potential future use(s). The number of parking stalls is consistent with the requirements for proposed cannabis businesses and is adequate to service the business.

 

Staff Analysis

 

To permit the proposed expansion, the Planning Commission is asked to consider approval of the amendment to Commission Use Permit (P17-0134) subject to the Conditions of Approval. The request and staff’s analysis are provided below.

 

Amendment to Commission Use Permit

 

The applicant has submitted a request for a major change to an approved Commission Use Permit that currently allows a cannabis storefront retail operation with the intent to utilize the vacant space to conduct distribution and non-volatile manufacturing, which are allowed by-right per SMC section 16.80.195.A.13 in the Industrial, General (IG) Zoning District. The following analysis addresses the proposed expansion.

 

SMC Section 16.104.040.C.2 requires major changes to an approved Use Permit to undergo the same type of review process as that for the original permit. The Planning Commission review requires seven (7) findings of fact to grant approval of a Commission Use Permit (SMC 16.168.050.A). Each finding and staff’s analysis are as follows:

 

1.  Finding: The proposed use is allowed within the subject zoning district with the approval of a use permit and complies with all other applicable provisions of this Development Code and the Municipal Code.

 

Staff Analysis: The proposed cannabis uses (i.e., use) are allowed by-right for the subject pre-existing business per SMC 16.80.195.A.13. As conditioned, the cannabis use will be in conformance with the development standards outlined in Title 16 of the Municipal Code. Adequate off-street parking spaces will be provided for the proposed use.

 

The proposed expansion does not trigger location requirements, however the by-right uses within the expanded area meet the location requirements set forth in SMC 16.80.195(E)(4) and 16.80.195(F)(4). The site is not located within 300-feet of any existing residential zone. The project is not located within 600-feet of any park, school providing instruction in kindergarten or any grades 1 through 12, day care center, or youth center, childcare center, child care, in-home (family day care home), religious facilities, or drug abuse or alcohol recovery/treatment facility.

 

2.                      Finding: The proposed use would maintain or strengthen the integrity and character of the neighborhood and zoning district in which it is to be located.

 

Staff Analysis: The proposed expansion and cannabis by-right uses would be situated in a vacant suite within the same building approved to conduct cannabis operations and is situated near several other industrial uses, in an industrial area. It would fill an existing unoccupied site which would help strengthen the integrity and security of the surrounding area by providing added security due to the nature of the land use. The proposed use would also align with the intent of the general plan to attract employment and tax-generating businesses that support the economic diversity of the city.

 

3.                      Finding: The proposed use would be consistent with the general land uses, objectives, policies, and programs of the General Plan and any applicable specific plan or master development plan.

 

Staff Analysis: The General Plan Land Use Map designates the subject site as Industrial. The Industrial designation is intended to accommodate a wide variety of industrial uses, including, but not limited to, uses with nuisance or hazardous characteristics, warehousing, light manufacturing, distribution and other related uses. The proposed expansion will house a by-right cannabis distributor and non-volatile manufacturer where cannabis products will be manufactured and distributed. All of which are consistent with the uses described in the General Plan for the Industrial land use designation. The zoning district (IG) is also consistent with the City’s General Plan Industrial land use designation for the project site.

 

Additionally, the use permit amendment for square footage expansion is consistent with the following General Plan goals and policies:

 

                     Goal CH-3, “expand opportunities for local enterprise, entrepreneurship, and gainful employment.”

 

                     General Plan Policy LU-4.2, “attract employment- and tax-generating businesses that support the economic diversity of the city.”

 

                     General Plan Policy LU-5.5: Compatible Land Use, “The City shall ensure an adequate separation between sensitive land uses (residential, educational, healthcare) and industrial land uses to minimize land use incompatibility associated noise, odors, and air pollutant emissions from industrial uses.”

 

The proposed expansion furthers the above goals and policies since it would provide for two by-right business types that generate tax revenue for the City of Stockton’s general fund, expand opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, and be consistent with the Industrial land use designation.

4. Finding: The subject site would be physically suitable for the type and density/intensity of uses being proposed including the provision of services (e.g., sanitation and water), public access, and the absence of physical constraints (e.g., earth movement, flooding, etc.).

 

Staff Analysis: The amendment has been analyzed by all applicable departments, and it has been determined that the existing streets and public access ways are adequate to serve the proposed project. The site has existing access to City utility services. Further, a Building Permit is required for the proposed cannabis facility, and the project will be required to comply with all applicable Building Code standards.

 

5.                      Finding: The establishment, maintenance, or operation of the proposed use at the location proposed and for the time period(s) identified, if applicable, would not endanger, jeopardize, or otherwise constitute a hazard to the public convenience, health, interest, safety, peace, or general welfare of persons residing or working in the neighborhood of the proposed use.

 

Staff Analysis: The proposed expansion and by-right cannabis uses will require the applicant to adhere to all applicable Building Code, Fire Code, and additional requirements established by the State of California, Department of Cannabis Control. The Department of Cannabis Control issues annual licenses and regulates cannabis distribution and manufacturing to ensure safe practices. The applicant will also be required to obtain and maintain an Operator’s Permit from the City that requires the business owner to develop and maintain a security and lighting plan that is reviewed annually by the Police Department.

 

All cannabis operations for the proposed uses will occur indoors, in an Industrial zone. Appropriate security provisions will be incorporated into the project operations plan, including electronic surveillance and on-site security.

 

For the above reasons, the establishment, maintenance, or operation of the proposed use permit amendment to increase square footage would not endanger, jeopardize, or otherwise constitute a hazard to the public convenience, health interest, safety, or general welfare of persons residing or working in the neighborhood of the proposed use.

 

6.                      Finding: The design, location, size, and operating characteristics of the proposed use would be compatible with the existing and future land uses on-site and in the vicinity of the subject property.

 

Staff Analysis: The proposed expansion would be located in an existing vacant suite, in the same building as the approved use permit, in an industrial zone, near existing manufacturing and logistics facilities. The proposed uses are by-right,  industrial and raise no potential issues related to compatibility with the existing and future land uses on-site and in the vicinity of the subject property and therefore are compatible with existing and future land uses on the site since a Use Permit for a commercial cannabis business use currently exists on site.

 

7.  Finding: The proposed action would be in compliance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the City’s CEQA Guidelines.

 

Staff Analysis: The proposed amendment will occupy an existing facility where the footprint of the building and the site will remain unchanged. The project is categorically exempt from CEQA, pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15301(a) (Existing Facilites) since the by-right use will be expanding into an existing facility and no expansion of building or site is proposed.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT


Notice for this item was published in The Record on October 17, 2021, and a notice was sent to all property owners within a 300-foot radius of 2401/2403 Stagecoach Road (APN 173-320-18). This item was continued from the October 28th hearing date to the November 18th hearing date where it was subsequently pulled from the agenda.

 

An additional notice for this item was published in The Record on November 29, 2021 and re-sent to all property owners within a 300-foot radius of 2401/2403 Stagecoach Road (APN 173-320-18). As of the date of this writing, no comments have been received.

 

Attachment A - Location Map

Attachment B - Approved Resolutions

Attachment C - Existing Commercial Cannabis Businesses

Attachment D - P18-0720 Approved Site Plan

Attachment E - Project Plans

 

 

This report was prepared by Ricardo Pozos, Contract Planner, (323) 955-5505, ext. 3322; rpozos@placeworks.com.