Marijuana Discussed at Vista City Council Meeting


The Vista City Council meeting on Tuesday evening started at 5:30pm and was completed around 9:20pm. There was a jam packed agenda and the following is a brief overview of the results. We have provided links to the full agenda.

Roncone Orthodontics International to move into Civic Center

In June 2015, the City entered into a 5-year lease agreement with LeaderOne;
For approximately 4,100 square feet on the first floor of the Civic Center. LeaderOne has ceased operations. LeaderOne no longer has a need for the leased premises and wishes to terminate its leasing obligations. A new lease has executed and takes effect so that a new tenant, Roncone Orthodontics International (Roncone), will occupy the Leased Premises. The term of the lease with Roncone will begin on December 10, 2017. The City would allow Roncone to take early possession of the premises on November 10, 2017 in order to prepare the space. Roncone will rent the space for $1.65 per square foot plus utilities and the rent will increase by 3% per year over the five-year term. The security deposit and first month’s rent will be paid upon the execution of the lease agreement.

Discussion Item #1
The number of signatures required to qualify the initiative for a regular election (10% x 42,168)is 4,217. Number of valid signatures is 5,596. The petition is deemed sufficient for a regular election under California Elections Code Section 9215.
A Resolution by City Council, Directing that the Initiative to Legalize Marijuana (Cannabis) Businesses in the City of Vista be placed on the Ballot for the General Municipal Election to Be Held November 6, 2018.

Kathy Valdez from the City Staff gave the report. There was public input with discussion from the Council Members. They voted unanimously 5-0 to have it put on the November 2018 election ballot.

Discussion Item #2

On June 27, 2017, discussed allowing medical marijuana delivery and a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the City limits, and directed staff to bring back for consideration regulations to permit two dispensaries in the City based on the recommendations.
On May 9, 2017, the Council directed staff to fund a professional services agreement to conduct public opinion polling on marijuana.

The results indicate the following sentiments for 50% or more of the respondents:
• It was extremely or very important that patients in the city have access to medical marijuana to treat diseases and illnesses.
• They are in favor of allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to operate within the City of Vista.
• They seem to be unaware of local regulations that prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in Vista.
• They were unsure if there were multiple medical marijuana dispensaries currently illegally operating within the City of Vista.
• They were in favor of various regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries within the City of Vista, if allowed to operate legally within the City limits.

Aly Zimmermann Assistant City Manager shared the staff report. Seven residents addressed the council on their opinions of this issue. After the discussion among the Council Members, by a vote of 3-2, John Aguilera and Joe Green voted NO and Mayor Judy Ritter, John Franklin and Amanda Rigby voted YES. The City Council voted to maintain the status quo in regards to Medical Marijuana. Aguilera pitched to allow MMJ testing and to allow 3 delivery ONLY businesses within the City, to provide safe reliable access. Prior to that motion being made, Deputy Mayor Franklin motioned to keep the status quo regarding: Store Fronts, Deliveries, Cultivation, and Testing. That motion carried, therefore the option to partially change the cities policy regarding MMJ was not voted on. The Council did however direct the staff to come back with more information on taxation, and possible revenue streams from future MMJ policy changes. Green said, “I’m optimistic my colleagues will investigate this issue further, and adhere to the will of the voters. 74% of Vista voters (1109 polled), thought it was important to provide access to medical marijuana within our city. I believe we will be able to implement a policy to provide safe reliable access, prior to the 2018 General Election.”

Discussion Item #3

The proposed redesign of Bub Williamson Park currently includes a soccer arena measuring 200’x 85′ that would accommodate youth and adult league play. Bub Williamson Park was chosen as the location for this CIP project due to the age of the park and need for updates to the facility.

City Staff has reviewed properties that could potentially accommodate a soccer arena, restrooms, viewing stands, select site amenities and parking if funding becomes available. Development is constrained on each site by different topography and access issues that should be taken into consideration when exploring future use. Staff searched for approximately 2.0 acres which could accommodate the soccer arena and the associated amenities.
Brengle Terrace Park: This park has a large grass area directly west of the Gloria McClellan Center that could accommodate the soccer field. Restrooms already exist; however, grading and retaining walls would be required to site the arena. Existing large trees would screen the field lights from the residences across Vale Terrace. This would add a programming element to a park that is already highly activated with the Gloria McClellan Center

Buena Vista Park: This park has a large grass area to the east of the duck pond that could be used to site the lighted soccer field with additional parking (approximately 50 parking stalls) being placed south of the duck pond. Restrooms already exist; however, grading and retaining walls would be required. In addition, at least eight picnic table pads would need to be removed. The nearest residence is approximately 375 feet from the grass area.

Shadowridge Park: This Park has a large open field that would be removed to accommodate the soccer arena and additional parking. Rancho Buena Vista Little League currently utilizes the open space for practices; however, their activities could be relocated. Approximately six trees might need to be
eliminated to accommodate the additional parking. The nearest residence is approximately 65 feet from the grass area, which could preclude lighting the fields due to the proximity.

Approximately 125 private properties met the size requirements alone but many were determined to be unsuitable once the additional criteria were considered. No private property owners have been approached about whether or not they would be willing to sell to the City.

Tony Winney, Assistant to the City Manager, gave the staff report. There were 19 people who wanted to speak against the soccer area being built at Bub Williamson Park. During Council discussion it became clear that no one wanted to build on this site so it was decided that Bub Williamson Park was no longer an option and they will need to find another location. There were Yays and Nays on other City owned parks. The staff was asked to come back to Council with more recommendations.