■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
During the city manager update of last Tuesday’s city council meeting, special projects/land use manager for San Jacinto Bob Brady updated the public as to where the city currently stands on the cannabis cultivators coming to San Jacinto.
“There are still four permits that are available to be submitted for the indoor cultivation,” said Brady.
Last September, the city council approved eight indoor and eight outdoor Commercial Marijuana Cultivation (COMC) regulatory permits for cultivators interested in the city’s development territories (Light Industrial Zone, an approximate 2,000-acre area west of Sanderson and north of Cottonwood avenues).
Fast-forward about four months, and a total of eight outdoor permits and four indoor permits have been submitted to the city.
“Every day I’m getting numerous phone calls from folks that are looking for what’s available, what we allow, and what we don’t allow,” Brady explained. He says that he suspects the increased interest in cannabis cultivation is due to the media coverage the topic has got since Jan. 1, when California essentially opened the world’s largest legal marijuana market.
Regulatory permit fees are $16,500. However, once cultivators complete the regulatory permit part of the application process, they’ve only completed the first step in the two-step process. A land-use permit must then be purchased for an additional non-refundable $17,750. “Those that have been conditionally approved are able to move through the development [or land use] application process, which includes design guidelines and ensuring that the development code is adhered to,” City Manager Rob Johnson wrote in an email. “The application would include facility plans, any studies that may need to be performed (i.e. water quality management plans, traffic studies, etc. if appropriate) and pay any fees that are associated with the development.”
Johnson says the development phase is the most difficult part of the process because it largely determines the build environment and the end product.
“It requires architecture design and engineering, which may be a stumbling block for some,” Johnson elaborated. He previously said that once growth developers begin construction on their facility, it typically takes around six months before they’re open for business.
Brady described that three of the eight outdoor regulatory permits have been accepted on a “waiting-list basis,” in case the permits submitted do not comply with local regulations.
“The regulations are enforced by the development code, which was approved prior to me coming to the city,” said Johnson, divulging that the topic is always a moving target when it comes to the state. “The regulations are mostly due to the type of land use that is in the zoning code, which determines the type of land use in a particular area of the city. The land use dictates what the playing field rules are.”
Brady revealed that five land-use permits have been issued; two to outdoor developments, and three to indoor developments. “There are actually more of the indoors moving forward percentage-wise,” he said.
One applicant who is pursuing an indoor growth operation has completed both parts of the process thus far, and became eligible for review by the state, which collaborates with the city to determine whether the applications are in compliance with local regulation.
According to Brady, San Jacinto indicated that this particular applicant was indeed ready. Brady has not made any comment suggesting when the development will fully materialize.
He went on to calculate that the indoor growth operation moving forward would generate approximately $577,405 in revenue annually for the city, based on the proposed cultivation area.