Dispensary opening halted by second dispensary across the street

Growing Green Bigger, LLC, a medical marijuana dispensary to be located at 515 North Mission Street, was expected to be approved at Tuesday evening’s Planning Commission meeting. However, Urban Development Director Nikki Howard inadvertently discovered earlier that day that the County approved a dispensary just 215 feet away from there, in a space that is not annexed into the City. 

Howard explained that when a nearby property owner called on Tuesday to make a complaint, she mentioned that another dispensary was opening across the street, at the old Major gas station. City staff inspected the location and confirmed that a dispensary has been approved for the space, but is not yet open. 

City Attorney David Widdoes said that the 300 feet spacing requirement between dispensaries applies whether that dispensary is in the City’s jurisdiction or not. He also said that there is an “irrevocable consent to annexation” in this situation, so that if and when the other dispensary starts to provide sales tax, it will go to the City. If that does not happen prior to December, the property will be annexed into City limits. 

After fielding questions from the Planning Commission and conducting a discussion about how to prevent this issue from recurring, Howard suggested that the Commission table the application until the City is able to confirm that the other dispensary is in fact going to open soon. 

The applicants explained that they are experienced dispensary owners and that they have already put some work into the building. They said that they “started our process before [the other dispensary] started theirs,” and said they were disappointed that their application could not be approved that night. 

Chairman Andrew Probst apologized for their inconvenience on behalf of the Planning Commission, but explained that it “cannot now approve a permit that would violate city ordinances.”

The business owner who alerted Howard to the proximity of the County-approved dispensary, PJ Smoot, of Eagle Peak Monuments at 603 North Mission, spoke against the application, saying, “I’m asking you to deny this because of the issue of having homeless [residents] who are camping out in my display items. Also, the fence line doesn’t go up to the building and trash is left.” Smood felt that having two nearby dispensaries would contribute to this problem.  

Mark Capron of Wallace Engineering spoke to the commission about two townhome projects that he is designing with builder Chris Key. The final plat of Oak Hill, at 7902 South 33rd West Avenue, was intended to be heard at this month’s meeting. However, because the infrastructure is still unfinished, the application was continued to the April 27th meeting. 

The preliminary plat application for the extension of Oak Hill, called Oak Hill II, at 7950 South 33rd West Avenue, was approved. It will encompass about 140 townhomes on 20 acres, said Howard. This was approved 5-1. 

An application from local builder Justin Hershberger of Hersh Properties to rezone 904 North 9th Street from Residential Single Family High Density to Commercial General was approved. When addressing the Commission about the project, Hershberger said, “It’s pretty straightforward. [The property] is right across from the fire station and Kum and Go. It just makes sense for it to be commercial.” 

The approved applications will go before the full City Council at its Monday, April 5th meeting.

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E. B. Thompson

E. B. Thompson

Elizabeth Thompson is the News Editor for Sapulpa Times.