To date, the board of supervisors has approved only indoor marijuana manufacturing and distribution outlets — not outdoor commercial cannabis grows — in unincorporated communities. (Shutterstock)
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — Two more cannabis retail outlets were approved Tuesday in Riverside County, one of which will be located in area west of Corona — and some are not happy.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved the outlets — the other in Highgrove — each with a 5-0 vote.
Over an hour was spent discussing the Coronita Helping Hands project to be established at the intersection of Via Josefa and Via Santiago, just outside the Corona city limits.
“I’ve struggled with this one,” said Board Chair Karen Spiegel, a Corona resident. “Community engagement is important. I really question whether there was much community outreach.”
The 2,500-square-foot facility that’s intended to provide on-site marijuana sales, as well as a mobile delivery service, will be less than 1,000 feet from neighborhoods, and several residents complained about potential nuisance activity, including cannabis buyers parking on residential streets.
“I live a half block from this,” resident Dean Stamp said. “They’re going to park on our streets nearby.”
Another resident expressed concern about the complete lack of sidewalks on Via Santiago, where children sometimes cross going to and from houses.
The project representatives said they had attempted on several occasions to speak with residents in the area but were generally rebuffed.
Spiegel received assurances that additional public outreach will be initiated, and infrastructure improvements, including sidewalk construction, will be researched as part of the site development.
“The applicant is meeting all the requirements, and it’s already zoned commercial,” the chairwoman said. “I can’t find a reason to vote no for this even though I don’t like it.”
County Transportation & Land Management Agency documents indicate the retailer will be open seven days a week, during the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Three to four clerical employees and an armed security guard will be in the shop, officials said. Security additionally will be 24 hours, which Spiegel said impressed her.
Under the 10-year conditional use permit and development agreement, Coronita Helping Hands will be required to make a first-year public benefits payment to the county totaling $45,000. An ongoing annual payment of $50,000 will also be owed, increased 5 percent every year for inflation.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposal in November and forwarded it to the board for final authorization.
The second public hearing for the Highgrove project, which barely lasted 10 minutes and elicited no public opposition, focused on the planned People’s First Choice cannabis operation in the 200 block of La Cadena, in the immediate vicinity of three other cannabis outlets approved by the board in the last year alongside Interstate 215. The location has been specifically zoned for cannabis retail and manufacturing operations.
The storefront and mobile delivery service will be run out of a 4,400- square-foot former office building, according to TLMA.
Published: April 13, 2021
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