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Santa Barbara County plans six community area meetings on retail cannabis permits
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Santa Barbara County plans six community area meetings on retail cannabis permits

Cannabis is cash

Santa Barbara County will hold six community area plan meetings in July to gather public input about licensing requirements and neighborhood compatibility of potential retail cannabis storefront businesses.

Santa Barbara County will host six virtual community meetings in July to gather public opinions and answer questions about the amended cannabis business license ordinance that regulates retail storefront operations.

The Board of Supervisors amended the ordinance in January to establish a merit-based scoring system for awarding cannabis retail storefront licenses, which are limited to one in each of six community plan areas.

Under the amended ordinance, the process must begin with community engagement meetings to gather input from each of the community plan areas.

County staff is looking for public comments about the business application criteria — not specific applicants nor specific sites — and an operation’s compatibility with the neighborhood.

Potential storefront retail shop operators will use that information to prepare a Neighborhood Compatibility Plan that must be submitted with their application.

Meetings were initially planned to begin in April but were put on hold due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Rather than delaying the process further, the county will host six virtual community meetings with multiple ways for public participation, with Spanish interpretation available.

All the meetings are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

The Santa Ynez Community Plan Area meeting is set for Thursday, July 2, with the Orcutt Community Plan Area meeting to be held Thursday, July 9, and the Los Alamos Community Plan Area meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 16.

At each meeting, staff from the County Executive Office and Planning & Development Department will present an overview of the cannabis business licensing and permitting process, followed by an overview of the community plan area covered by that meeting.

The meeting schedule and information about how to participate and submit feedback is posted at http://cannabis.countyofsb.org/retail.sbc, where a video version of the presentation will be available prior to the meetings.

This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for the Santa Maria Times. He can be reached at mhodgson@santamariatimes.com.

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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