Oceanside CA— It was the final Oceanside City Council meeting of 2017 and the first without Mayor Jim Wood who announced his retirement last week, effective January 1, 2018, due to health issues. The meeting was led by Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery.
In a 4-0 vote the Council approved three ordinances:
- amending Chapter 29 Article IX of the Oceanside City Code to regulate commercial kitchen grease disposal
- amending Chapter 29 Article X to regulate discharge into the City sewer system
- amending Chapter 37 Article I to repeal Section 37.37.1 which is a duplicate of Section 37.35 and Article II, Section 37.56 to determine meter size requirements based on the latest standards set by the California Plumbing Code and American Water Works Association
In a 4-0 vote the Council approved Amendment 2 -Disposition and Development Agreement with Pelican Brooks Street Oceanside, LLC for the development and construction of a parking structure containing 435 parking spaces and a commercial/residential project on Parking Lot 23 located in the 300 Block of Cleveland Street, increasing the parking structure cost amount from
$10,652,204 to $11,785,940 and the developer’s share thereof from $1,954,000 to $2,167,529; and authorized the City Manager to execute the amendment.
In a 3-1 vote in favor, the Council approved a request by Deputy Mayor Lowery and Council-member Kern that the Council forward the recommendations of the Medical Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee to appropriate staff and advisory boards/commissions for review and comments to be brought back to Council for adoption at a later date. Council-member Sanchez was the dissenting vote.
The request went to a vote after a thorough report from Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery’s aid, Don Greene on the Medical Marijuana Ad-Hoc committees findings.
“I just want to remind everyone that medical marijuana is legal in the state of California and in eleven days, recreational use of marijuana will be legal in the state of California. We are not here to change state law one way or the other. We are here to regulate businesses that go on in the City of Oceanside,” said Deputy Mayor Lowery prior to the public comments. “Right now as we speak, there is an app online ‘Weedmaps’. Currently, there are 48 mobile delivery operations going on in Oceanside and Carlsbad, 46 of which are illegal. This is what we are after. Shutting down these illegal operations but we can’t do it without our regulations being in place.”
Following more than two hours of, at times, spirited public comment by more than 45 community members mostly in favor of the council moving the recommendations forward, Council-member Jerry Kern said; “I want to remind everybody that I voted against both medical and recreational marijuana use. I feel it’s my job as a public official to carry out the will of the people. There were comments made that we didn’t listen to the other side during our ad-hoc committee meetings. Well, quite frankly, the public had spoken before we even started. The voters of California voted to allow the recreational and medical use of marijuana. Our task was to figure out how we carry out the will of the people in order to do that.” continued the council-member “If you are voting against this tonight, you are actually voting for putting up to eight dispensaries in Oceanside and having medical and recreational marijuana in the industrial zones. If we give up local control, then we can’t go back.” Council-member Kern was referring to a poll that showed an initiative to allow up to eight dispensaries in Oceanside would pass easily. The committee recommend no more than four.
The Medical Marijuana Ad-Hoc committees findings covered everything from growers, security, shop hours, locations(all east of I-5) testing and final distribution plus issuance of category ‘M’ licenses for medical marijuana to category ‘A’ for adult recreational use.
The category ‘A’ inclusion in the Medical Marijuana Ad-Hoc committee recommendations was an obstacle to an affirmative vote from council-member Jack Feller. “I would let this go forward if it was only medical,” said council-member Feller. Deputy Mayor Lowery then asked council-member Kern to amend the motion to specify moving forward only on the category ‘M’ licenses which he did.
Council-member Feller asked Don Greene why the committed recommended that all dispensary locations be located east of I-5. “The committee decided with the proliferation of brew pubs along the Coast Highway and more that are coming in, keeping dispensaries east of I-5 would provide a natural geographic separation so that someone who had spent a good evening in one of our local brew pubs would not decide to stop in to a dispensary, on their way home, and be doubly impaired for their drive.”
“I believe if anything is going to be done about this, it has to be with dialog that involves all corners of our city. That was not done. I can’t support this,” said council member Sanchez. ” Not only was I excluded completely but a lot of folks were excluded and I do believe we need to discuss impacts to our economy, impacts to our youth and impacts to public safety.”
The committee recommendations will now go to city staff along with the police and fire departments for further review and recommendations that will be voted on by the City Council in a few months.