This is where Pomona plans to allow cannabis cultivation, distribution and sales
A zoning ordinance also would permit manufacturing and testing businesses
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Pomona has introduced a map establishing locations where cannabis businesses will be permitted.
The City Council is expected to adopt the map later this month after unanimously endorsing city staff’s recommendations for areas where retail, cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, micro and testing businesses may operate.
In response to concerns from the public, Mayor Tim Sandoval said the city is laying the groundwork for professional and safe operations.
“We do have cannabis in the city of Pomona and it’s called illegal dispensaries, and it has had an adverse impact on this community,” he said at the council’s meeting on Monday, Nov. 4. “We know that not everyone is comfortable, but every one of these cannabis businesses have to prove themselves as good community partners and that they are not there just to suck the life out of a community.”
For most of this year, the council has been developing regulations for its cannabis ordinance such as approving the permit application process.
Anita Gutierrez, Development Services director for Pomona, said the city held numerous meetings, open houses and study sessions on a proposed map over the past few months to ensure the process was transparent.
City employees worked to provide “a thoughtful, reasonable and methodical approach to zoning cannabis,” Gutierrez told the council Monday.
City maps it out
The citywide ordinance, which includes the map, will designate the specific zones where cannabis businesses would be allowed to operate on existing parcels. It is divided into four subareas which are grouped by zoning designations and cannabis land-use permissions:
Subarea 1 would allow retail storefronts throughout the city, including parcels on Holt Avenue and Mission Boulevard, but exclude downtown, Bonita Avenue and Foothill Boulevard. The parcels are a mixture of commercial and industrial uses. The portion of this subarea that borders the north end of Pomona includes parcels near Bonita and Garey avenues, adjacent to the Metrolink North Station and the future Gold Line stop. There are homes nearby.
Subarea 2 would allow retail storefronts on a handful of commercially-zoned parcels on Valley Boulevard as well as Temple Avenue.
Subarea 3 predominantly encompasses industrial warehousing and business parks on the west end of the city and would permit cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, micro-businesses and testing. That includes parcels on Valley Boulevard to the north, Temple Avenue to the west and the 71 Freeway to the east and the railroad tracks to the south. It mainly concentrates around Pomona Boulevard and encompasses warehousing and industrial business parks. There are some additional parcels just west of Temple Avenue.
Subarea 4 in the industrial part of town would allow cultivation, distribution, manufacturing and testing. It includes a handful of parcels directly south of the 60 Freeway in the 1000 block of Walnut Avenue.
The city currently plans to issue permits for eight cannabis-related businesses:
- Two for retail;
- Two for micro-businesses;
- And four for industrial production
Those businesses could operate in one of 355 parcels identified in the subareas throughout the city, said Ata Khan, senior planner for Pomona.
Originally, the city identified 415 parcels where cannabis-related businesses would be allowed but neighboring cities including Chino, Walnut, Claremont and La Verne raised concerns about the proximity of such activity to their respective shared borders with Pomona.
As a result, the city agreed to set a 600-foot buffer citywide, removing 55 parcels from the map.
Public shares concerns
Prior to the map being drawn up, the city agreed it didn’t want cannabis businesses to operate within 1,000 feet of one another or sensitive neighbors such as schools, daycare facilities and recreation centers. State law requires only a 600-foot buffer, Gutierrez said.
Numerous speakers at Monday’s meeting, however, opposed the city’s map.
Brenda Hamlett, principal of Sumner Danbury Elementary School in Claremont, told the council she is concerned that Mr. D’s Diner at 401 E. Foothill Blvd. in Pomona could become a cannabis operation. The owner of the diner acknowledged at the meeting that the business isn’t doing well and he is considering bringing in a cannabis operator.
The school is a little over a half-mile away from Mr. D’s Diner. Hamlett said students walk by it five days a week on their way to school.
“Young children will be forced to walk by and see armed guards,” she told the council. “I just think this would have a huge impact on children.”
Basem Aweinat, Islamic Center of Claremont board president, opposes cannabis businesses and plans to file an appeal if the council adopts the map. The center is a half-mile away from the diner and Aweinat said he too is concerned about children in the area.
“Where are we going with this?” he asked after the meeting. “What is the benefit of this move?”
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Final approval of the ordinance, which includes the map, is expected at the council’s Nov. 18 meeting, and would take effect 30 days later, Gutierrez said.
Pomona still has several steps before it can open the application period. Gutierrez said in an email Thursday, Nov. 7, that the city is working on finalizing an implementation guide that is meant to go into the application process in more detail. In addition, the city needs to select a third party to be involved in the evaluation or scoring of applicants.
“We anticipate being able to open the application period by the end of January or shortly thereafter,” she said.
This is where Pomona plans to allow cannabis cultivation, distribution and sales A zoning ordinance also would permit manufacturing and testing businesses Share this: Click to share on