Medical marijuana dispensaries allowed in Dade City

Medical marijuana treatment centers and dispensaries may now set up shop within certain areas of Dade City.

Dade City Commissioners on Jan. 28 adopted an ordinance revising the city’s land development regulations to make the treatment facilities a permitted use in the city’s general commercial zoning district, and an allowed use in commercial and employment center planned development districts.

More specifically, the ordinance 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, while avoiding much of the city’s historic downtown main street and central business district.

The ordinance requires 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.

Also, the ordinance 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 on the ordinance’s second reading was approved 3-2, with Scott Black and Eunice Penix voting no. The city passed a first reading of the ordinance on Jan. 14 by the same vote. No one from the public weighed in on the issue at either reading.

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.

In other action, commissioners:

  • Adopted an 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
  • Adopted an 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
  • Renewed a one-year contract extension agreement with Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions Inc., for general planning and engineering services

Dade City police officer honored
Commissioners recognized Miguel Velez, who prevented a drug overdose death last fall.

Dade City police officer Miguel Velez, left was recognized by Chief James Walters, for his role in preventing a drug overdose death last fall. (Courtesy of Dade City Police Department)

The 30-year-old Velez, a four-year veteran of the agency, was dispatched on Oct. 9 to a reported overdose on Hillside Lane in Dade City. When he arrived, he found a 23-year-old woman lying on the ground, unresponsive, with no sign of pulse or breathing.

Recognizing the symptoms of an overdose, he administered his officer-issued Narcan spray, which the police department had received through a donation eight weeks earlier from the Recovery Epicenter Foundation.

Shortly after he administered the Narcan, the woman began breathing and Velez could detect her pulse. Then, Pasco County Fire Rescue arrived and stabilized the woman, whom they transported to a local hospital, where she survived.

Dade City Police Chief James Walters presented Velez with a challenge coin inscribed with the Latin phrase, “Semper paratus, mitte me,” which translates to, “Always ready, send me.” It is the second coin Chief Walters has presented to an active member of the city’s police department. The other was given to Sgt. Robert Tungate in May, for his efforts in trying to rescue a victim from a house fire.

Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez commended Velez for his “heroic act,” adding, “It is those kinds of things that make our police department so special.”

Public roundtables for downtown splash park
Dade City officials want to hear local residents’ thoughts regarding the design and amenities they’d like to see for a planned downtown splash park/bike hub project.

Two public charrettes are planned to collect that input. They are scheduled for 6 p.m., on Feb. 17 and Feb. 24, at City Hall, 38020 Meridian Ave., in Dade City.

The meetings will include a small presentation of the park, followed by a brainstorm of suggestions and ideas from residents and stakeholders.

The splash park and bike hub are planned on a 2.23-acre parcel at 3772 Church St., which borders the Hardy Trail and is diagonal from The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce building.

A preliminary concept plan for the project calls for a multi-use water splash pad, bike-share shelter, amphitheater, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible playground, open space, a concession area and other features.

The project will likely be completed in phases over the next several years, starting with the bike hub, which could break ground this year, in partnership with Pasco County’s tourism office.

For more information, call (352) 523-5050.

General election set April 13
Three seats are open on the Dade City Commission for this year’s election cycle.

The offices to be filled are for Groups 3, 4 and 5 — as terms expire for commissioners Jim Shive, Nicole Deese Newlon and Eunice Penix, respectively.

The election qualifying period will begin at noon on Feb. 11 and end at noon on Feb. 18.

The general election is April 13. The polling place for the election will be at Precinct 1 at First Baptist Church, 37511 Church Ave. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Those newly elected will serve a four-year term through April 2024.

Published February 05, 2020

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