Last week, the Colusa City Council voted 4-0-1 (Councilman Dave Markss recused himself) to approve a special use permit and a regulatory permit for a cannabis cultivation facility proposed for the corner of Bridge and Main streets. The decision marked an end to a drawn-out and sometimes contentious approval process for the project.
Greenceutical, LLC first publicly pitched their project to the council in December 2017, and indicated at that time they were eying two locations: one at 1717 Highway 20 – a property that neighbors the Colusa Assembly of God Church – and the other at the property currently tied to their project, located at the corner of Bridge and Main streets. After the company received push-back from the church’s pastor, Ken Edwards, Greenceuticals shifted their focus away from the Highway 20 location. At some point between then and February, their focus shifted to two lots at 8th and Main Streets – the site of the old Stokes Building, which currently houses Fur Fin & Feather Taxidermy. When that location fell through after an outpouring of opposition by neighboring businesses and property owners, Greenceuticals shifted their focus back to two lots at the corner of Bridge and Main streets, which were still owned by the city. The city council sent out a Request for Proposals and solicited “bids” for projects at that site, and had two bidders respond.
Ultimately, the council decided to approve the Greenceuticals project and to move forward by selling the property to the company, before eventually approving a development agreement in May.
During last Tuesday’s meeting, the council also approved a notice of exemption for the project, finding that, as an “infill project,” it was categorically exempt from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act.
Only two people – John Rogers and George Parker – spoke in opposition to the project during the public hearing. In addition, Bill Abel submitted a letter of opposition to the council.
Parker, a city planning commissioner, reiterated his position that the city should amend its General Plan to allow for cannabis uses, and expressed frustration with the lack of information that the planning commission had been given when it was asked to make a recommendation on a development agreement with Greenceutical last month.
“Frankly, I believe that this castrated us as a group. And unfortunately, we can’t do our job,” Parker said of the development agreement. “My petition to you is to evaluate the role of this council and the people, in vetting these types of projects forward, in concept of the General Plan – which I think we are the stewards of – and the hard work that went forward to put it together. A simple general plan amendment would solve this problem, allowing cannabis to be an ethical practice within our city.”
Rogers, who owns nearby property and has been the most vocal opponent of the project (at both of its proposed locations), said again that he felt the city was subverting the California Environmental Quality Act, and accused the city council of “fast-tracking” the project.
If nearby property owners – aside from Abel and Rogers – were against the project, they didn’t make it known at last week’s meeting.
A handful of neighboring residents did speak out against the project last month when Greenceutical was seeking a development agreement with the city, which was referenced in the staff report for the most recent council meeting.
Those residents didn’t speak up during last week’s meeting, however. As a result, the city council determined that the project would “not be detrimental to the health, safety, peace, morals, comfort, and general welfare of persons residing or working in the neighborhood, or to be detrimental or injurious to priority and improvements in the neighborhood or to the general welfare of the city.”
City Manager Jesse Cain said that the approval of the permits will allow Greenceutical, LLC to move forward with obtaining their state license to cultivate cannabis, as well as obtain building permits, before ultimately beginning construction on the new facility.
For the first time, the public got a glimpse of the preliminary site and facility designs for the project’s proposed location at last week’s meeting. According to the staff report, Greenceutical, LLC is proposing to build a 28-foot tall, single-story, 25,000 sq. ft. facility.
Cain said that, if all goes according to plan, construction on the facility could begin as soon as July 2.
“They’re out there staking it now,” Cain said on Monday.