Medical marijuana ordinance gains first-round approval

Dade City is a step closer to allowing medical marijuana treatment centers within its city limits.

Dade City Commissioners gave first-round approval to a zoning text amendment that would make the treatment facilities a permitted use in the city’s general commercial zoning district, and would make them an allowed use in commercial and employment center planned development districts.

The first vote took place on Jan. 14. A second hearing and approval are needed for the change to take effect.

Dade City Commissioners gave first-round approval for a zoning text amendment that would allow medical marijuana treatment facilities within specific areas of the city. A second hearing and approval are needed in order to adopt the change. (File)

More specifically, the amendment lets medical marijuana facilities be situated along U.S. 301/U.S. 98 south and north of town, and certain pockets of the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) district, but avoids much of the city’s historic downtown main street and central business district.

The text amendment also would require any future standalone pharmacies and drugstores to locate within those aforementioned districts, as Florida statutes prevent municipalities from enacting regulations that are more restrictive for dispensaries than for traditional pharmacies.

The amendment also includes language establishing regulations for hand-rolled cigar manufacturing within city limits, something the city had not addressed.

Hand-rolled cigar facilities would be a conditional use, permitted use or allowed use in as many as 10 different types of business or planned development zoning districts.

The commission’s action was approved 3-2, with Scott Black and Eunice Penix voting no.

Black said: “I’m concerned about moving so quickly on the medical marijuana with this being still untested waters, but I’m also concerned about how we’re taking pharmacies out of zoning in the downtown business district.”

No one from the public weighed in on the issue.

The commission’s vote came after the Dade City Planning Board reviewed and voted to recommend the proposed amendment last month.

The city previously had a series of concurrent moratoriums on medical marijuana treatment centers within its municipal limits dating back to 2016, to study its possible impacts.

In September, city commissioners directed city staff to draft an amendment to the city’s land development regulations that would change that, and allow medical marijuana dispensaries in specified areas.

Commissioners also:

  • Approved a subdivision preliminary plan for The Cove, a new 10-lot Habitat for Humanity subdivision located between 15th and 17th streets north of Main Avenue
  • Approved a subdivision preliminary plan for Countryside, a new 25 single-family lot subdivision located east of U.S. 301 on vacant lands on Countryside Place
  • Approved a first reading ordinance of an annexation petition for JDR Investments Inc., for a 0.41-acre parcel located at 14836 U.S. 301, considered an enclave within the city
  • Approved a first reading ordinance of an annexation petition for Esplanade Communities of Florida, for a 0.22-acre parcel located at 36221 State Road 52, which was previously not discovered in the subdivision approval process
  • Approved a final plat for the Shoppes of Dade City, for the development of eight lots, generally located at the northeast corner of U.S. 301 and Clinton Avenue
  • Adopted a second reading of a zoning map amendment to approximately 3.04 acres of real property at 36830 Blanton Road, to a residential general zoning district. The moves allows for the proposed development of multi-family units at 10.5 units to 20 units per acre, directly across the street from Pasco-Hernando State College, where students and/or faculty could reside; the property is currently occupied by a quadruplex family residence. The applicant was PJW Management LLC.
  • Adopted a second reading of a zoning map amendment on approximately 61 acres of real property located at 38364 Clinton Avenue, to medium residential single-family zoning district The proposed use of the property will allow the development of a 249 single-family lot subdivision (Hilltop Pointe) at less than six dwelling units per gross acre; the property currently hosts a commercial farming operation. The applicants were Philmon Citrus Nursey LLC and Cephus Food Sales LLC.

Commissioner Nicole Deese Newlon spoke out against some of the fast-moving development that’s been approved in the city of late, suggesting that potential negative traffic impacts aren’t getting enough consideration.

The commissioner directed her attention — and voted against —  the proposed 25-lot subdivision Countryside, east of U.S. 301, adjacent to a busy block that includes a McDonald’s. “We’ve approved several developments in the city limits, and it seems like traffic is kind of a cursory afterthought a lot of times,” she said.

Published January 22, 2020

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