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1) Who drafts the Community Benefit Agreement?
Once a selection has been made by the Selection Committee, the Community Benefit Agreement will be prepared by the City (City Attorney's Office), based upon the conditions and terms that the applicant agrees to abide by, as part of the award of the license. Applicants are invited to propose a template for use in creating the draft agreement. It is up to the applicant to determine how and what to present to be potentially included within the Community Benefit Agreement. The proposed terms for the potential Community Benefit Agreement are to be presented by the applicant, which will be reviewed and scored, and evaluated during the selection process.

2) What is the City of Pacific Grove looking for as far as community benefits goes? Are there certain projects that need funding in order to be implemented?
The Community Benefit Plan shall be responsive to the City Council’s goals and strategies. The Community Benefit Plan should also describe the benefits the business will provide in order to enhance the quality of life to the local community, for example by directly aiding, participating in, or funding the work of local non-profits, community-based organizations, civic organizations, or social services organizations. Benefits may be in the form of volunteer services, monetary donations, and financial support of City-sponsored activities or organizations, in-kind donations to the City or other charitable organizations. In addition, it should clearly stipulate the financial incentives in which it shall provide the City as a percentage of their gross receipts.

3) How long does it take to secure a Use Permit?  
It depends on the applicant’s preparedness and completeness of application. However, in general, it may take up to 6 weeks to secure a Use Permit. In general, a Use Permit application has to go to a noticed public hearing of the Planning Commission which requires noticing including publishing a legal ad, and mailing and posting notices at least 10 days in advance of the hearing. The Planning Commission currently meets only once a month on 2nd Thursday of the month.

4) Does the applicant need to submit the UP application at the same time the cannabis business permit applications?
No. An applicant should submit a Use Permit application to the Community Development Department after the applicant has been granted a provisional Retail Cannabis License.

Can one entity submit two or more applications?
Yes. Each application shall be for a unique eligible location and will be subject a separate deposit fee of $9,000.

5) What type of security system/program does the City prefer?
The City does not have a preferred security system/program. However, the applicant’s security system must comply with the State and industry standards as well as it must be responsive to the City’s Operational Guidelines for Cannabis Retail Establishments.

6) Can you clarify the access and door locking requirement as it pertains to the fire code?
The applicant should approach this as if Covid-19 is not in consideration in order to comply with City and state law requirements. Should the issue of COVID-19 need to be addressed it would be in accordance with CCR §5038 Disaster Relief which states in part the following:

(a) “If a licensee is unable to comply with any licensing requirements due to a disaster, the licensee may notify the Bureau of this inability to comply and request relief from the specific licensing requirement.
(b)  The Bureau may exercise its discretion to provide temporary relief from specific regulatory requirements in this division and from other licensing requirements when allowed by law.
(c)  Temporary relief from specific licensing requirements shall be issued for a reasonable amount of time in order to allow the licensee to recover from the disaster.
(d)  The Bureau may require that certain conditions be followed in order for a licensee to receive temporary relief from specific licensing requirements.

7) Is the goal of the city to improve downtown with a cannabis shop or is any location equal as far as it meets the setback requirements?
The City does not have a preferred area where a Cannabis Dispensary should be established. However, all proposed locations shall meet the location requirements as set forth in Ordinance No. 20.022. Each proposed location shall also be responsive to the City’s Neighborhood Compatibility Plan and Location guidelines located in the “Application Submittal Details” tab above.

8) Does the City anticipate an appeal since only one license is available and what will that do to the timeframe of opening a site?
The City cannot speculate on whether or not it will receive an appeal. However, any applicant wishing to appeal the Selection Committee’s final decision must appeal to the appointed hearing officer within ten (10) days of the Applicant receiving a notice that he/she would not move forward in the application process or be issued a License. Such appeals shall comply with the requirements of PGMC Chapter 1.20. 

9) Has a Citizen Petition been filed to repeal the Cannabis Ordinance?
Yes. Please see the Summary of Referendum Process below for more information.

The referendum process was initiated pursuant to California Elections Code Sections 9235 - 9247.  The proponent filed a copy of the proposed summary to the local elections official, which was immediately forwarded to the City Attorney for review. The City Attorney’s approval is due on or before October 1, 2020.

The proponent shall then have 30 days from the date the summary is approved by the City Attorney to submit a petition with the required number of signatures (10% of the registered voters) to the local elections officials. The ordinance subject to the referendum petition shall not become effective until this period has expired.

The City Clerk has a ministerial duty to determine whether the petition, on its face, complies with statutory requirements. If it does, the clerk must determine the number of valid signatures on the petition and certify the results. The submission of such a petition suspends the effective date of the ordinance, and the city council must reconsider the proposed ordinance. 
The City Council must either a) repeal the entire ordinance; or b) submit the ordinance to the voters. If the Council repeals the ordinance, the same or similar ordinance cannot be again enacted for 1 year from the date of the repeal. If not repealed, the council must submit the ordinance to the voters at the next regular municipal election (if it occurs within not fewer than 88 days), or at a special election called not fewer than 88 days after the order of the city council.

10) What effect does the pending citizen referendum petition have on the City’s ability to review and process Retail Cannabis License applications?
The California Elections Code provides the City ordinance shall not take effect until after the referendum circulation period has expired.  If sufficient signatures are timely submitted on the petition, the effective date of the ordinance shall then be suspended until further action on the referendum is taken as required by the Elections Code.  Because the City is not able to take action based on Pacific Grove Ordinance No. 20-22 until or unless limits imposed by the Elections Code are lifted, all license application review and selection activities by the City must be held in abeyance until the status of the referendum is clarified.  All applications that have been received shall be retained, unopened, during the period of abeyance.