It's a little hard to believe we're writing about the proposed marijuana retail outlet in the Plexis building again, but opponents — and city staff — seem determined to subject the now-scaled-down project to stricter scrutiny than other businesses would receive.
The Ashland Planning Commission will discuss the proposal in its meeting today. Topics include potential traffic effects and the city's requirement that cannabis outlets be at least 200 feet from the nearest residential zone.
First, traffic: This is the building that once housed the A Street Marketplace, a collection of several retail establishments that filled the entire building. We don't recall any serious traffic problems at the time. Beyond that, A Street is a commercial street lined with businesses, all of which attract some traffic. A new analysis submitted by a Eugene consultant found no operational concerns from the retail cannabis shop, but that wasn't good enough for city staff, who want "a somewhat broader assessment."
Staff also restated earlier concerns about the project being too close to a residential zone. The original proposal included an indoor commercial cannabis growing operation, but that's been eliminated, leaving just the retail shop at one end of the 6,000-square-foot building. The concern stems from an entrance at the Oak Street end of the building, closer than 200 feet from nearby homes. But the retail space itself is still farther than 200 feet away.
The city should stop splitting hairs and allow a legal business to move forward, treating it like any other.