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Pending Medical-Pot Dispensary at Paseo Chapala Raises Concerns

The dispensary would be located below existing residential space

Mixed-use buildings have proven tricky for the city of Santa Barbara’s medical marijuana ordinance. While dispensaries are generally in business districts, there’s no denying that condominiums and apartments could be considered residential.

The pending dispensary below Paseo Chapala was met with opposition at the Santa Barbara Ordinance Committee’s meeting on Tuesday.

The dispensary would occupy every vacant property from Esau’s Café and Silvergreens — which includes 741, 751, 761, 771 and 781 Chapala St. — and would be topped by existing townhouses and flats.

The Farmacy would offer Chinese herbal remedies in addition to marijuana and is located directly across the street from Paseo Nuevo mall.

Residents of Paseo Chapala who attended Tuesday’s meeting expressed concerns about security, parking and having a dispensary 16 inches from their homes — directly beneath them.

One resident said it’s one thing to have a dispensary near work, when you can go home afterward, but another to have one at your home — especially with the threat of a federal raid.

The Farmacy is a chain of dispensaries, and JoAnna LaForce, who owns and manages some of the facilities, spoke on its behalf.

She said the community should discuss the “actual vs. perceived issues of dispensaries.” Capping the number allowed in the city would hurt existing dispensaries that haven’t made it through the complying permit process, she said.

Applications for the dispensary are pending, seeking approval by the Planning Division’s staff hearing officer or by appeal to the Planning Commission.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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