Guadalupe City Council green-lights upcoming cannabis dispensary

File photo by Jayson Mellom
VISUALLY CONSISTENT: The Guadalupe City Council recently discussed whether or not an upcoming cannabis dispensary’s design would fit in aesthetically with other buildings in downtown Guadalupe, before ultimately granting the project a conditional use permit.

A cannabis retailer’s plan to open a new storefront in Guadalupe is moving forward with a conditional use permit. 

Members of the Guadalupe City Council voted unanimously to grant Element 7, a California-based dispensary chain with shops in eight cities across the state, the permit during a public hearing on May 23. 

The only condition of approval that Mayor Ariston Julian and his peers on the City Council scrutinized and agreed to revise before voting on the item was a condition regarding security bars.

The new dispensary will be located at an existing 2,500-square-foot building—previously occupied by Anthony’s Sports Bar—at 859 Guadalupe St., which has several wrought iron bars in front of its entry way. One of the Planning Department’s conditions of approval notes that “existing metal gates/bars at the front of the building entry shall be removed prior to facility operations.”

During the May 23 meeting, Julian referenced a letter that the City Council received from a former mayor of the city, Lupe Alvarez, who wrote in favor of the project’s approval but urged city officials not to remove the existing bars.

“If the custom ornate wrought iron is required to be removed, it opens up the entire patio area to an increase use of homelessness, public urination, graffiti, and other issues in the downtown corridor,” Alvarez wrote.

“My opinion is to keep them up,” Julian said after referencing Alvarez’s letter.

“I’m in favor of leaving the wrought iron up as well,” Councilmember Megan Lizalde said. “At this point, I don’t think for aesthetic reasons it needs to be removed, and I like the added level of control for that space.”

Contract city planner Bill Scott initially argued not to alter the condition and said that the dispensary will have “stringent security measures that minimize the need for the bars,” including roll-down security gates and high-pitch frequency “Mosquito” alarms to deter vandalism and loitering.

“I stand by our recommendation that the bars be removed,” Scott said. “Our point was just trying to find a harmonious design with a majority of the buildings downtown and the appeal of the downtown overall with new visitors.” 

Lizalde said that the wrought iron bars are visually consistent with similar bars at other buildings in downtown Guadalupe, including Nardo’s Restaurant and Don Charly’s Place.

“There’s bars all over the place,” Julian said.

Ultimately, the Guadalupe City Council agreed to omit the bar removal requirement from the conditional use permit, which was approved in a 5-0 vote.

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