Staff Recommends Upholding Pot Permit
• City Council to Hear Appeals of Commission's Decision
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Malibu City Council is scheduled to hear two appeals filed by the same appellant over a permit for a medical marijuana dispensary at its meeting next week.
The planning staff has recommended the council uphold the planning commission's decisions and deny the appeals.
In other words, the council should approve the applicant who was approved by the planning commission and deny the appeal of that application.
At the same time, planners are recommending the council deny the request of the applicant/ appellant who was turned down by the planning commission.
The applicant/appellant, who was denied a permit for a medical marijuana dispensary at a planning commission meeting on March 1 has appealed the planning panel's decision and at the same time the applicant/appellant, Twin Lyons Wellness Center, has also appealed the planning commission's decision granting a permit to Malibu Collective Caregivers after the commission had approved the permit. Twin Lyons wants the city council to rehear both applications.
The appellant, in correspondence to the city, indicated the grounds for the appeal are "The city, the planning commission and the city attorney denied [the] appellants due process by unfairly misleading them as to the procedure to be used in hearing and deciding on the applications, thus prejudicing them in their strategic choices. The city appears to have evinced impermissible bias in the handling of these hearings. The planning commission's findings are not supported by the evidence, or is its decisions supported by the findings."
The two applicants are vying for one permit of two allowed citywide. The other permit was granted to PCH Collective.
The city's ordinance only allows two operating pot pharmacies in the city.
Twin Lyons has insisted the city should grant the permit to the facility that is considered the best operation and fit for the municipality rather than on a first-come, first-served basis.
However, Assistant City Attorney Greg Kovacevich had instructed commissioners, "You can't approve both."
The panelists deliberated on the first application sought by Malibu Collective Caregivers, whose application was deemed complete a week before Twin Lyons.
The staff recommended the commission deny the second application if it approved the first one and the city attorney's office opined the planning panel could not approve another permit.
The commission conducted a full public hearing on the Twin Lyons application after Kovacevich said the application could be withdrawn or the applicant could go forward or ask for a continuance of the item to see if the prior applicant gets appealed.
The commission opened a public hearing and after testimony and deliberations ultimately agreed to deny the permit and directed the staff to bring back a resolution denying the request for the operation of a medical marijuana dispensary which they did on March 1. The commission without discussion formally denied the permit.