HANFORD – The Hanford City Council is slated to have a discussion Tuesday about a proposed zoning ordinance update that would allow medical marijuana cultivation/production businesses to locate in town.
The council had been working with Purple Heart Patient Center, an Oakland-based medical pot dispensary that wanted to open a large medical cannabis production/cultivation business in the former Pirelli tire plant in the industrial park south of Hanford.
The deal fell through after the City Council voted not to issue any conditional use permits to medical cannabis producers until at least November 2018, when the council plans to put a medical marijuana tax proposal before Hanford voters.
The tax measure would impose a tax on any cultivators/processors who opened up for business in Hanford. The tax could be used to support law enforcement or any other budgetary need the council identified.
The city is currently in the process of updating its ordinance to allow for large medical pot cultivation businesses in the industrial park.
The update will lay down strict security rules and other restrictions on how cultivators could operate.
The update is in the works, but hasn't been finalized and voted on yet.
Purple Heart was offering to pay for the cost of the update process, but pulled out before committing any money. The city has hired an outside company to manage the update.
On Tuesday, city staff will discuss with the council the possibility that other medical marijuana businesses might still be interested in coming to Hanford and helping to pay for the update.
In other business, the council will:
- Conduct a public hearing to get input on a proposed general plan overhaul and zoning ordinance update.
- The general plan overhaul would, among other things, change some development policies designed to protect downtown that have restricted certain types of businesses, such as furniture stores, from locating on the 12th Avenue corridor and in the new Costco shopping center.
- The overhaul would also rezone the vacant land next to Hidden Valley Park as low-density residential, paving the way for its potential sale to a developer. The land is currently zoned for "public facilities," which would preclude its conversion to housing.
- A vocal group of Hanford residents, many of who live near the vacant property, are expected to protest against the zoning change.
- At past meetings, protesters have called for turning the land into an extension of Hidden Valley Park.
The medical pot discussion will take place at 6 p.m. The public hearing on the proposed general plan/zoning ordinance update is part of the council's regular meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.
The council meets inside the Civic Auditorium. The meeting can be accessed by going through the main auditorium doors and entering the room on the left.