Recognize 25th anniversary of CCTV
By Daniel Borsuk
A few hours after supervisors had unanimously passed an ordinance banning the sale of vaping products and prohibiting the delivery of cannabis vaping products in unincorporated Contra Costa County, the elected officials instructed Planning Department officials on Tuesday to prepare for supervisors’ potential approval of land use permits for commercial cannabis storefront retailers and cultivators at the supervisors’ upcoming December 10th meeting.
Supervisors adopted the county’s anti-vaping ordinance, after supervisors listening to 10 speakers advocate for the prohibition of the sale or delivery of tobacco vaping products, cannabis vaping products, and flavored tobacco products in 54 retail stores in unincorporated areas of the county. A week ago, more than 50 speakers called on supervisors to pass the proposed anti-vaping ordinance.
Prior to adoption of the new law banning the countywide sale of vaping products, the county prohibited the retail sale of vaping products to persons under 21 years old within 1,000 feet of a public or private school, playground, park or library. That law had affected about 45 retailers in unincorporated parts of the county.
More than 2,000 Americans, many of them teenagers and young adults, have become sick from using vaping products since March, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Some persons have died from using vaping products.
Supervisors set the stage to select candidates who will be invited to apply for either cannabis storefront retail and commercial cannabis cultivator land use permits from the Conservation & Development Department.
Supervisors learned a 10-member Cannabis Review Panel consisting of representatives from the county Administrator’s Office, Department of Agriculture, Contra Costa Fire Protection District, Health Services Department and Conservation & Development Department(CDD), had met 15 times to score and rank candidates seeking land use permits to start the regulatory process of legally operating in accordance with the County’s Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance that was approved by county voters on Nov. 6, 2018.
The county cannabis ordinance permits for the creation of four storefront cannabis retailers, 10 commercial cannabis cultivators and two commercial cannabis manufactures in agricultural zones.
CDD official Ruben Hernandez, said proposals for storefront retailers were received from Bay Point, 2; from Clyde, 1; Pacheco Boulevard, 10; El Sobrante, 7, and North Richmond, 1.
Eleven of the 19 commercial cannabis cultivator proposals were found to be ineligible because the subject properties are not within service area of a retail water supplier, a requirement set in the Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance.
A majority of the commercial cannabis cultivation proposals were located in the Eastern Contra Costa areas of Bethel Island, Kingston and Brentwood area. Three proposals were located in North Richmond.
“Since fewer proposals were received than the maximum number of commercial cultivation businesses to be permitted, the panel is recommending that all seven eligible proposals be invited to apply for land use permits,” a document from CDD Director John Kopchik stated.
During the public speaking portion, several persons protested that the cultivation operations nearby housing subdivisions will stimulate crime and/or health problems.
Knightsen resident Ann Richie said permitting cannabis cultivation operations nearby her residence will only increase crime. “We’ve had two incidents recently,” she said. “They were violent crimes. Please don’t let this happen.”
Patrice Kintral of Knightsen told supervisors that allowing a cannabis cultivation operation nearby her home will mean more health problems for her nine-year-old special needs daughter. “This proposal could mean she may expect to have more migraines,” Kintral said.
In the meantime, some Supervisors plan to study the proposed sites before the December 10, meeting.
Board Chair John Gioia plans to look at each site before the Board’s next meeting. “Some of these locations are better than others,” he said.
“We want to start slow on this,” said Vice Chair Candace Andersen. “We want to dot the i’s and cross the t’s because we have seen how other counties have made mistakes when they enacted cannabis laws.”
District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, who has five cannabis proposals in his district, and District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, who has 10 cannabis proposals in her district (Pacheco Boulevard), both liked the community benefit proposals that bidders submitted. “You did a fabulous job,” Mitchoff said.
In other action, supervisors approved on consent the following:
- Renewed a $322,927 a year contract with Baker & Taylor for book rental services for the Contra Costa County Library from Jan. 1, through Dec. 31, 2020. Baker & Taylor builds and maintains an economical method for maintaining an inventory of the most current, high demand hardcover titles.
- Approved the $13 million Marsh Drive Bridge Replacement Project over the Walnut Creek Channel. Constructed in 1938, the existing bridge is structurally, seismically and hydraulically deficient and will be replaced with a new five-span bridge, pre-stressed concrete slab structure on concrete piles that is longer and wider than the existing bridge, at about 340 feet long and 55 feet wide. The bridge is currently 325 feet long and 34 feet wide.
- Increased solid waste collection rates in the unincorporated West County areas covered by the Richmond Sanitary Service. The residential rate increase of 4.63 percent effective Jan. 1, 2020
- The rate increase corresponds with a monthly raise of $1.17 in the most common (35-gallon cart) collection rate.