FORT BRAGG – The Fort Bragg city council meeting on Tuesday night’s main focus was on appealing a Planning Board decision for a commercial cannabis store on N. Franklin Street, and further information on the Winter Shelter location.
The start of the meeting was dedicated to welcoming new employees to the city, including Heather Gurewitz as Associate Planner, George Leinen as New Police Service Carrier, Max Sallas as Maintenance Worker II and John Smelser as a part-time worker. The mayor also read a proclamation on behalf of the city, declaring February Black History Month in the town of Fort Bragg.
Mayor Bernie Norvell gave a brief report on the meeting the town held with local business owners and members of the downtown community, which was reportedly affected by the relocation of the winter shelter to city hall gymnasium.
The refuge will continue to be held at the Lutheran Trinity Church until March 15, and Caspar Shul has tentatively agreed to take it in the last two weeks of March.
We may not have to host the shelter downtown, which I think we were all prepared to do, ”said Mayor Norvell,“ but we may not have to.
Councilors also heard a brief presentation from Diann Simmons of the Economic Development and Finance Corporation, regarding the organization’s finances for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Council rejects appeal for proposed downtown cannabis showcase
Local businesswoman Brandy Moulton’s request to start a cannabis micro-business on N. Franklin Street was rejected by the Fort Bragg Planning Commission in late December. She took her case to city council on Monday night, but was unsuccessful.
The Planning Commission voted 3-0 to refuse, on the grounds that it required unauthorized cultivation or transformation in the downtown business district, and also that the main use of the site was not retail.
Moulton appealed to the council on Monday and said his dispensary business was already booming – moving into the N. Franklin Street location would simply be a change of location, and not an entirely new and untested business in the city.
Gurewitz, along with the city of Fort Bragg, said the proposed showcase would also include manufacturing and processing site and a small residential building onsite.
Public comments on the issue varied. Michelle Roberts was the Planning Commission that presented the petition to deny the Moulton use permit; she spoke on the call and said she was still against Moulton’s proposal, in accordance with the city’s incidental use requirements.
Jen Brown expressed her support for Moulton: “I don’t see any red flags or concerns here with them being in town and trying to be more acceptable to the community, and offering another form of people getting their meds,” Brown said. “I think it’s a great idea.”
City clerk June Lemos also read several comments, both for and against the cases proposed by Moulton.
Deputy Mayor Jessica Morsell-Haye recused herself from the discussion (as she owns a business near the proposed location). And as the council is also running out of a seat with former mayor Will Lee gone, the council had to vote unanimously to overturn the Planning Commission’s decision to decline.
They do not have.
The first motion was put on the table by Councilor Lindy Peters, to support Moulton’s appeal and overturn the Planning Commission’s refusal. Mayor Norvell seconded, but with Councilor Tess Albin Smith voting no, the motion was unsuccessful.
Albin-Smith then decided to dismiss the appeal and confirm the decision of the Planning Commission, …
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