Map shows allowable locations for cannabis shops in Isla Vista.
Map shows allowable locations for cannabis shops in Isla Vista. County will hold first hearing on rules for permits Wednesday. (Contributor photo)

Santa Barbara County residents in July can attend a series of community engagement meetings to offer input on cannabis retail storefront business application criteria.

Six virtual meetings are scheduled for each community plan area where a cannabis retail storefront can be located in the county. The meetings will be conducted by Zoom videoconference (an account is not required to participate) and by phone because of COVID-19.

Up to six dispensaries will be permitted, with one allowed in each community plan area — Summerland/Toro Canyon, Isla Vista, the eastern Goleta Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Los Alamos and Orcutt.

The county’s cannabis business license limits the number of storefront retail licenses to no more than one in each of the six community plan areas. 

A storefront is not permitted in Montecito, according to the county.

In January, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance amendment that established a merit-based scoring system for applicants vying for a cannabis retail storefront license.

Cannabis storefront retail can’t be located within 750 feet of K-12 school campuses, day care or youth centers.

For the permit process, owners and residents within 1,000 feet of the possible cannabis retail storefront will receive a notice of pending action, which outlines the appeal process.

The appeal period is 10 calendar days following the decision to approve or deny the proposed project.

The business licenses are valid for one year, county officials said.

County staff is seeking feedback about the business application criteria (not applicants or specific sites) and “neighborhood compatibility” at the community meetings.

The schedule includes staff from the county Executive Office and Planning and Development presenting an overview of the cannabis business licensing and permitting process, followed by an overview of the community plan area. 

Scroll down to watch the county’s cannabis retail storefront presentation on YouTube.

The comment and question session will occur after the county staff presentation at the online meetings.

Videos of each meeting will be posted on the county’s website, along with frequently asked questions.

The county is holding its first meeting Wednesday evening for the Isla Vista area.

“This meeting will help decide what kind of dispensary we will get in Isla Vista, to make sure it is in line with the priorities of Isla Vistans,” said Jonathan Abboud, general manager of the Isla Vista Community Services District. “People’s input will shape the community benefits a dispensary should fund and the type of engagement they should have with all residents, from the teens, UC Santa Barbara/Santa Barbara City College students, to the seniors.”

Coastal Dispensary, which has a location in Santa Barbara after a competitive process, is pursuing a permit for the one Isla Vista spot. Coastal Dispensary has other locations, including Lompoc.

Devon Wardlow, director of public affairs at Coastal Dispensary, is looking forward to the community participation at the meeting.

Wardlow also mentioned that she, as well as Coastal Dispensary’s CEO and director of business development are UCSB alumni.

“We are excited to see the county is kicking off their public meetings,” Wardlow said. “This will be an important time for us to learn and hear from the community on what they hope to see as the results from a cannabis dispensary in Isla Vista.”

The meeting schedules include:

» Isla Vista at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

» Santa Ynez Valley at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

» Toro Canyon/Summerland at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 8.

» Orcutt at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9.

» Eastern Goleta Valley at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 15.

» Los Alamos at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 16.

The county will hold each meeting in English with Spanish translation.

To participate at the meeting and for more information, visit

YouTube video

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.