Santa Barbara County to Ask Community About Cannabis Storefronts

Six Virtual Meetings Look for Comments on Merit-Based Selection Process

A total of six cannabis storefronts will open in areas controlled by Santa Barbara County — in other words, outside its cities — and the public is invited to comment on the business application criteria and neighborhood compatibility. Six virtual meetings will take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays starting July 1, each focusing on one of the locations: Isla Vista, Santa Ynez, Toro Canyon/Summerland, Orcutt, Eastern Goleta Valley, and Los Alamos. Information on the merit criteria, licensing team, and how to attend the virtual meetings are at cannabis.countyofsb.org/retail.sbc.

In a 19-minute video, Steven Yee, a fiscal analyst with the CEO’s office, and Kathryn Lehr, a senior planner, go into detail about the complicated, three-step cannabis storefront application process. Each application is first reviewed for completeness and zoning compliance. They then go through a check against the requirements of the county Business License Ordinance, and a third-party consultant scores the business proposal. Applicants that succeed advance to an internal selection committee — including Planning, Fire, and Environmental Health — which reviews compliance with Neighborhood Compatibility Plans and other criteria. While that hoop is being leapt through, the applicant could finish the business license process.


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On the planning review side, the storefronts can be open or closed to the public and can be exclusively delivery services. They are not allowed within 750 feet of K-12 schools, day care, or youth centers; none are allowed in Montecito. Residents and businesses within 1,000 feet of the proposed retail store will be notified of the pending application. Once a permit is approved, anyone opposed has only 10 calendar days to appeal.

The information requested of applicants includes anyone with 10 percent or more ownership, other cannabis operations owned, a 24-hour phone number for complaints, and state licensing information. The license is good for one year. Renewals include a review of complaints.

The July meetings seek comments on things like site selection, traffic impacts, and parking. The results will be presented as a “neighborhood scoresheet” to the Board of Supervisors on August 18.

Photo: CourtesyA map shows parcels where a retail cannabis storefront may be located in Eastern Goleta Valley.
Photo: CourtesyA map shows parcels where a retail cannabis storefront may be located in Summerland.

At the community meetings, county staff will not have specific information on sites or applicants. Complete information on submitting questions, attending the virtual meetings — which will be held in English and Spanish — dates, times, zoning maps, community plan areas, and two-minute videos about each of the six areas are all available at cannabis.countyofsb.org/retail.sbc.

The meeting schedule follows:

•  Isla Vista CPA — 5:30 p.m., Wed., July 1

•  Santa Ynez CPA — 5:30 p.m., Thurs., July 2

•  Toro Canyon CPA / Summerland CPA — 5:30 p.m., Wed., July 8

•  Orcutt CPA — 5:30 p.m., Thurs., July 9

•  Eastern Goleta Valley CPA — 5:30 p.m., Wed., July 15

•  Los Alamos CPA — 5:30 p.m., Thurs., July 16


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