By Elijah Kutsenda
Two proposed dispensaries are attempting to open in the Livermore and Sunol area. The city of Livermore and a business in Sunol have filed appeals to stop these dispensaries from opening. Despite these appeals, the land is in unincorporated Alameda county, leaving the decision up to the County Board of Supervisors.
Livermore municipal code 5.80.020 prohibits all commercial cannabis activity within city limits. Despite this code, there is an expectation that medical cannabis will be readily available within the city. The municipal code following 5.80.020 provides exception to delivery services based at dispensaries located outside of the city. It should be noted that this only applies to medical cannabis, making recreational unavailable in Livermore.
While the city of Livermore does not allow any commercial cannabis operations, the county has taken a different position. An ordinance adopted by the County Board of Supervisors permits medical cannabis cultivation, retail, and delivery operations within unincorporated Alameda County. In other words, cannabis dispensaries can operate in unincorporated Alameda County.
This is how medical cannabis services hope to operate within the Tri-Valley.
The county ordinance allows up to five dispensaries within unincorporated areas of Alameda County. Of the five, two are to be on unincorporated land in east county outside of Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, and Sunol. With the approval of the new ordinance, the county began accepting applicants for the two available permits to operate in unincorporated east county. Five applicants filed to receive a permit, of which, two were picked through various processes and scoring.
Andrade Partners, LLC was one of the selected applicants. Andrade Partners also operate Garden of Eden, a Hayward dispensary. They applied to be located at 3220 Andrade Road, in Sunol. The location is a vacant lot just beside 680. Sunol Ranch LLC filed an appeal and expressed concern of safety and disruption to the surrounding residential areas of the proposed location.
Earlier this month, the County Board of Supervisors voted to reject the appeal allowing the proposed dispensary to continue to apply for additional permits such as construction and city permits and taking steps furthering the possibility of opening.
The second chosen applicant is Larry Gosselin, a retired veterinarian hoping to make good use of his property. He applied to operate a dispensary on his property located in unincorporated Alameda County. The address, 7699 Altamont Pass Road, N. Livermore falls just outside of city limits, but is included in Livermore’s General Plan.
According to the General Plan, Livermore’s guide for land use and conservation of its resources, Gosselin’s land is zoned for Highway Commercial. The Livermore zoning code states that commercial highway areas are close to major transportation corridors and interchanges. The code recommends these areas be used for businesses predominantly serving the traveling public. This includes lodging, food service, vehicle repair shops and gas stations. Livermore filed an appeal, as the location for the two proposed dispensaries must be on land zoned for agriculture. In other words, this land is reserved for crop production and livestock operations.
However, the land falls just outside of the Livermore city limits and is part of unincorporated Alameda county. The county zoned the land as agriculture, thus allowing for a dispensary to apply for permits and operate at the location.
Included in Livermore’s appeal was the argument that a dispensary may not operate near a recreational center, citing the nearby motocross track. The County Board of Supervisors voted against the city’s appeal 4-0 writing that, “The Patrons of a private for-profit business are not generally considered sensitive receptors therefore a use of such as Club Moto should not trigger the 1,000 foot separation requirement.”
While commercial cannabis operations remain illegal in Livermore city limits, excluding delivery, the city states that it is currently researching and reviewing the prospect of dispensaries within its limits. In the meantime, Livermore residents can expect to see two new dispensaries just outside of the city in the near future.