Potential traffic impacts of a proposed marijuana business on A Street and how it fits in to the buffer requirement for cannabis retail sales in the city is up for discussion at Tuesday night's Ashland Planning Commission meeting.
The application was first submitted as both a retail sales and grow site in November. The plan received overwhelmingly negative feedback from the community and requests for more information on potential water, sewage and air quality impacts from the Planning Commission at a December meeting.
Jorge Yant, CEO of medical software company Plexis and owner of the building at 181 A St., announced a plan to drop the indoor grow site in January.
Staff had also raised questions about potential traffic generated from the retail business at the same meeting. The commission requested a more thorough study from the applicant.
The new analysis, conducted by Eugene-base Kelly Sandow in January, evaluated the operations of the intersection of Oak Street, A Street and Van Ness Avenue. It concludes that the traffic increase will cause no operational concerns, but recommends three mitigation measures to improve safety at the intersection of Oak Street and A Street, according to the revised application.
But according to the February staff report, the conditional use permit that the applicant is seeking requires “a somewhat broader assessment, both in terms of a larger geographic area and of the type and range of impacts.”
The staff report further states that the revised application didn’t address the impact of potential increased daily traffic or the impact to other nearby intersections.
“Staff believes an important issue to consider is whether traffic from the proposed marijuana retail sales use will reduce transportation capacity for future permitted uses and development in the vicinity, as well as potentially create an adverse material effect on pedestrian and bicycle travel,” the staff report reads.
Staff also raised concern about the business not meeting a city ordinance that requires a marijuana-related business has to be located 200 feet or more from a residential zone.
According to staff report, the building has a door at the western side that is approximately 24 feet from a residential zone and also provides access to the retail space at the other end of the building, which meets the city’s 200-feet buffer requirement.
Staff recommends the commission require that access from the west end of the building be eliminated.
The applicant submitted a legal interpretation from the Medford-based legal firm Hornecker Cowling arguing that city ordinance should only measure from the location of the retail space itself, “not the building it is in or the parcel boundary.”
The letter further states that Ashland’s past practice is to measure the location of the retail business to calculate the buffer distance in previous applications and that it “would be improper” to do otherwise in this application.
The Planning Commission meeting starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, at the Council Chamber, 1175 E. Main Street.
— Reach reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or email@example.com. Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.