Cannabis carve-out: A commercial cultivation ban may be coming to Old North Sacramento?

Del Paso Boulevard Partnership doesn’t think weed can help revitalize struggling historic avenue

This story was made possible by a grant from Tower Cafe.
This is an extended version of a story that appears in the April 5, 2018, issue.

The Sacramento Planning and Design Commission came out decidedly against an ordinance to ban commercial cannabis growing on parts of Del Paso Boulevard and Arden Way. But the ban could still move forward under the City Council, leaving the possibility that Sacramento’s landmark 2016 legalization ordinance is something neighborhoods can opt out of.

On March 22, the commission voted against forwarding a recommendation to the council to prohibit cannabis cultivation on the major thoroughfares within the Del Paso/Arden Way Special Planning District. The ordinance has been brewing at least since January 23, when the council voted 8-0 to block cannabis cultivation near Power Inn Road. On that night, Councilman Allen Warren attempted to loop in a prohibition for his district. Though Councilwoman Angelique Ashby expressed support, the city manger said the idea had to go through the normal planning process, which landed on the planning commission’s lap two weeks ago.

David Plag, executive director for the Del Paso Boulevard Partnership, told commissioners that big things were happening in his North Sacramento corridor, such as the development of a new Grocery Outlet, and that “cultivation is just not going to work because it doesn’t add anything.”

Meanwhile, attorney Mitch Abdallah, representing a prospective business at 1001 Del Paso Boulevard, argued in favor of the ordinance as it currently stands. “That’s how it’s meant to work, rather than piece-mealing out one area of town,” Abdallah said.

Commissioner Jose Bodipo-Memba wondered if a strategy of temporary fixes would lead to city officials reviewing potential exemptions “again and again.”

The City Council is expected to vote on the Del Paso-Arden prohibition in late April or early May. Plag warned the commission that he could almost guarantee that Warren had the votes to get the ordinance approved. “We made it very clear that the councilman doesn’t want cannabis on the corridor,” Plag said.