North County Report: Cities Scramble to Keep Medical Marijuana Out
Encinitas’ granny flat plan falls flat, the FPCC tells County Supervisor Bill Horn — again — not to vote on Lilac Hills and more in our weekly roundup of North County news.
This post has been updated.
As a March 1 deadline approaches for cities across the state to implement regulations on the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana, North County cities are just saying “no.”
Three bills passed in the state Legislature in 2015 require businesses that deal with medical marijuana to be dual-licensed – approved by the state, and the city in which they operate. North County cities already prohibit commercial medical marijuana through permissive zoning ordinances, which ban land uses not explicitly allowed by a city’s code. But the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act left them scrambling to clear up any haze surrounding their stances.
Recently, San Marcos, Vista, Solana Beach and Encinitas approved ordinances to clarify or reinforce their existing ordinances. Carlsbad and Del Mar both plan to put forward ordinances at an undetermined date.
One important reason for these updated ordinances is to also ban the delivery of medical marijuana. The new state laws say permissive zoning is not enough to stop state-licensed delivery services.
Granny Flat Plan Falls Flat
Plans to boost Encinitas’ affordable housing stock fell flat, with only six participants opting in to a year-long program to legalize accessory dwellings, also called “granny flats.” In response, the city extended the program for another six months, as it crafts a new policy to build participation.
The measures are an attempt to ease the burden on the city as it struggles to comply with state requirements to provide affordable housing. Encinitas has had policies since 1993 to legalize accessory dwellings, like apartments inside garages, and incentivize owners to rent to low- and very-low income residents with relaxed building code enforcement for units.
In 2014, the City Council updated its Affordable Unit Policy to reduce the requirement to rent to low- and very-low income residents, and allowed units built before 2004 to participate in the program.
The city anticipated hundreds of applications, as 164 units were set to expire in December, under the original 1993 policy. Of the six who applied for the program, only one has been approved, so far. Owners must either apply under the Affordable Unit Policy, bring the unit into full code compliance or demolish it.
FPPC to Horn: Still No
Maya Srikrishnan has the story of the Fair Political Practice Commission’s steady position on County Supervisor Bill Horn’s upcoming vote on the Lilac Hills proposal – mainly that he not have one.
Horn appealed an earlier decision by the FPPC in December, but the agency maintained that he should recuse himself from any vote on the project, which is two miles away from his property in Valley Center. The FPPC said that Horn didn’t present substantially different facts in his appeal from those the agency considered in its initial decision.
Also in the News
• Plans for a new mental health facility have moved forward, with the demolition of the existing buildings at a county-owned property in Escondido. (Coast News)
• Carlsbad upgraded its traffic signals with cameras to monitor traffic flow, replacing in-pavement sensors. (Union-Tribune)
• Local agencies missed water conservation targets, including many North County districts. (City News)
• Cities across North County are prepared for El Niño. (Seaside Courier)
• Oceanside Unified School District is launching a motivational speaker blitz. (Union-Tribune)
Update: An earlier version of this post said it wasn’t clear whether Carlsbad and Del Mar would put forward new medical marijuana ordinances before the state deadline. Officials from both cities responded after this post initially published. Their responses have been incorporated.