Regarding the issue of a cannabis shop at Santa Claus Lane, which the Planning Commission approved on Wednesday, I would like to comment as a co-owner of PORCH, a home and garden shop, for 12 years, six of which were spent on Santa Claus Lane. Yes, exactly in the same space planned for a cannabis retail store.
We moved our store only because of the current months of construction and the required months ahead. Pat and Maire Radis own the building, and they are also 70 percent owners of the cannabis business there. They are firm believers in the medical properties of cannabis and want to share that enthusiasm with the community.
Santa Claus Lane is a popular South County beach destination and commercial retail/mixed-use developed area. A multi-jurisdictional effort to permanently fix the issues on Santa Claus Lane began in earnest in 2004, and this week it begins to bear fruit. The county’s Beach Access and Streetscape Improvement plan is an outstanding project. It will have a profoundly positive impact on the quality of life for the merchants, property owners, shoppers, visitors, residents, and beachgoers on Santa Claus Lane.
While the traffic circulation on Santa Claus Lane is severely disrupted today and for the foreseeable future due to the infrastructure work underway, ultimately the work will significantly improve circulation, reduce traffic speeds, and increase and improve parking capacity.
According to the International Traffic Engineers data used by jurisdictions around the globe to calculate traffic impacts of all types of development, cannabis retail will generate one car per minute to Santa Claus Lane. That is gross, not net, which would be even less. This engineering group says 600 vehicle trips would take place per day; the store will be open 10 a.m.-8 p.m.: that is 600 minutes.
One of the project opponents owns the building in the center of the commercial development on Santa Claus Lane. He, is keenly aware that congestion on Santa Claus Lane only occurs for a limited number of days each year, typically weekends between July and September. He testified to that at a hearing in 2019 about the streetscape plan, acknowledging that business was strong in the summer and tailed off significantly during the winter and much of the spring and fall.
A dynamic, nonseasonal shop, like Roots Carpinteria, which would operate seven days a week, 10 hours a day, 12 months of the year, will provide all merchants and property owners on Santa Claus Lane a much-needed positive economic impact year-round.
Parking capacity will increase with 75 new parking spaces in the County’s Streetscape project. The number of formal and informal parking spaces will increase from 254 to 329 formal lined spots in 2024. This represents a nearly 30 percent increase in the amount of parking capacity along the Lane.
In addition, The Roots Carpinteria is required to provide its customers off-street parking. No other merchant on SCL is being held to this standard. The County requires 12 off-street parking spaces which is easily provided at their location.
A Voice in the Independent recently expressed concern about armored cars picking up large amounts of cash from the cannabis retail store. Today, cannabis stores take debit cards and credit cards in addition to cash. Cannabis businesses have bank accounts now.
The vehicles used to pick up bank deposits are secure 12-person vans that will pull in behind the store and park in one of the provided spots during off-peak hours.
As for the the safe interaction between cars, pedestrians, and bikes on busy summer days, the county’s new Class 1 multi-use path, part of the California Coastal Trail, will continue from Santa Claus Lane across the marsh to the City of Carpinteria. That work is starting today. In addition, the Streetscape Project will include ungraded sidewalks on the commercial side of the street and crosswalks to the parking being striped on the freeway side of Santa Claus Lane.
Security is everyone’s concern. The Roots Cannabis store will have on-site (but out of sight) security. No one can consume or loiter on the site per laws and permit conditions. People will make their purchase and leave.
The surf schools are located more than 1,500 feet away from the cannabis retail store location. That is more than double the required set back from a school. The businesses that provide the surf schools cannot legally conduct their classes in their commercial facilities.
More than 500 residents from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara signed a petition in support of this safe and legal cannabis retail location on Santa Claus Lane. I urge all of us to focus on the future of Santa Claus Lane, which, with the addition of Roots of Carpinteria, will become a more economically vibrant, commercial and recreational location. Thanks to a successfully operated, diverse, and thriving set of retail businesses, Santa Claus Lane will also be a more livable, walkable, and desirable place for the property owners, merchants, visitors, shoppers, as well as the residents of the beach areas mixed-use area.