County Planning Commission OKs Los Alamos cannabis shop

Ravatt, Albrecht & Associates, Inc.
CANNY VALLEY: The Haven project, a cannabis dispensary planned for Los Alamos, was approved by the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission in early December.

With an address across the street from a popular bar, an upcoming dispensary in Los Alamos raised more concerns about jaywalking than smoking from one member of the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission.

“Bell’s a wide street and it doesn’t have much lighting, and I think you’re going to get a lot of jaywalking back and forth between the Depot and your store,” 3rd District Commissioner John Parke said at the Planning Commission’s Dec. 6 meeting. “I just wonder if anybody in this room has thought about the safety aspects of that.”

The Haven project—owned by an Irvine-based cannabis retail chain—planned for Bell Street, which overlaps with Highway 135 in Los Alamos, received praise from Parke for its semi-rural design and sidewalk enhancements. But he voiced his “lingering concern about foot traffic” in the area, especially after sunset.

“There’s going to be people walking across that street not in the very best of condition, and it’ll be dark,” Parke said. “I just hope we don’t have any accidents.”

The project applicant’s agent, David Swenk of Urban Planning Concepts, said that the possibility of establishing a new crosswalk near the site was explored during the firm’s interactions with Caltrans, which granted the project an encroachment permit to refurbish some patches of sidewalk.

“Caltrans, as part of their process, opted not to do anything. Their reasoning is they wanted the least amount to do to [135] as we can,” Swenk said. “Even if we wanted to [add a crosswalk], it’s up to Caltrans to do it.”

Fifth District Commissioner Vincent Martinez later asked if cannabis consumption would be allowed on the shop’s premises. Swenk clarified that it won’t. Earlier in the meeting, Swenk mentioned that the project doesn’t require an odor abatement plan because the shop will sell prepackaged THC items such as edibles and tinctures.

Swenk added that the Haven chain, which owns storefronts in multiple cities across California, has “maintained a 100 percent compliance rate with all the different jurisdictions they’ve been involved in, and they’re very proud of that.”

During deliberations, newly appointed 4th District Commissioner Roy Reed motioned to approve the Haven project. The Dec. 6 meeting marked Reed’s first hearing in the role, and his call to green-light the Haven was his first motion.

“I’ve never been a great fan of cannabis. I was in the medical industry. I watched the medical legalization thing, I wasn’t a fan,” Reed said. “But as a former supervisor told me at one time, ‘You know, Roy, it’s a legal product. Time and our point of view changes.’”

Reed’s motion was seconded by 2nd District Commissioner Laura M. Bridley before passing 5-0. 

Comments (0)
Add a Comment