A cannabis retailer that sued Costa Mesa over its application process got the green light this week to open a dispensary on 17th Street and has agreed to pay the city’s legal fees as part of a legal settlement.
RD x Catalyst-Costa Mesa claimed in an August 2021 complaint members of the City Council defied the mandates of Measure Q — a 2016 ballot measure legalizing retail cannabis sales — when they allowed City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison to determine how permits would be reviewed and granted.
When the process was rolled out, cannabis companies already conducting legal businesses in the fields of manufacturing, testing and distribution in an industrial “Green Zone” were allowed to submit applications ahead of most new enterprises.
City officials planned to process applications in groups of 15 and, when Green Zone businesses filled the first 15 slots, Catalyst sought a restraining order to halt the process pending a determination in the case.
A judge denied the request, allowing the city to continue reviewing applicants and scheduling public hearings before the Costa Mesa Planning Commission for retail cannabis conditional use permits.
On Monday, Catalyst Chief Executive Elliot Lewis appeared before commissioners with plans for a retail dispensary occupying two units of a commercial building at 170 E. 17th St., currently leased by Coast Sewing & Vacuum Center.
The new business is anticipated to serve from 175 to 300 customers per day and gross more than $2.5 million in 2023, generating $179,630 in tax revenue for the city.
Lewis described how his team planned to hire unionized employees, restripe the site’s legal nonconforming parking lot, plant six new trees and build a sidewalk along nearby Fullerton Avenue, in addition to tackling significant interior work within the two units.
He said having a dispensary in the commercial building would not only drive up foot traffic to surrounding businesses but add a level of security that could help with vagrancy issues observed on the site.
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Published: September 30, 2022
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