The County's Cannabis Zoning Ordinance, (Chapters 88-28 and 84-86 of the County Code) (the "Zoning Ordinance") sets numeric limits on the number of land use permits that may be issued for three categories of commercial cannabis activities: storefront retailer (four), commercial cultivation (ten) and cannabis manufacturing in agricultural zoning districts (two). The Zoning Ordinance also provides for Board review and approval of the solicitation process to be used to request and evaluate proposals for these three permit categories and determine which proposals to invite to apply for a land use permit.
Staff has prepared a Preliminary Draft RFP (attached) and is seeking Board input and direction. Before the RFP is finalized and published, staff proposes to add more specificity in certain sections, in particular related to submission requirements and scoring criteria, but would welcome general direction from the Board on the preliminary draft document as it currently stands. Staff proposes to implement Board direction, refine the RFP and return to the Board on January 22, 2019 for Board approval.
In particular, Board input would be most appreciated on the general approach to scoring and ranking projects. Staff is proposing that a minimum score be set both for each scoring category and overall. Such an approach has been used for other jurisdictions and makes clear that projects deficient in one area will not be selected. This approach would be helpful, for instance, in the case of geographic equity, providing a basis to not select a proposal in the same area as a better proposal.
An issue raised by staff at the November 13, 2018 Board meeting was the potential for receiving fewer Letters of Intent than allowed under the permit cap. There was consideration for eliminating the requirement for submitting a full proposal if this were ever the case. However, following additional discussions with the interdepartmental staff team, staff is now not recommending that approach. Maintaining the requirement for submitting a proposal regardless of the number of proposals submitted will ensure that the quality of proposals is always evaluated. The Board may, in its discretion, determine on the basis of the proposals submitted not to invite any respondents to the RFP to apply for a land use permit, or to invite a number of land use permit applications that is less than the cap for the applicable category of commercial cannabis activity.
Speakers: Michaela Toscas, Higher Elevaiton and Alameda County stakeholders; Mark Unterbach,resident of Brentwood; Matt Light, resident of Walnut Creek; Jim Gonzalez, Unique Solutions, Martinez Family Farmers; Ashley Bargenquast,Tully & Weiss Attorneys at Law; Nate Landau, Showtill.
Marcos Parra, Casa Rasta Farms, did not wish to speak, but left written commentary (attached).