Marijuana signage ordinance heads to Carson City supervisors

Dry and trimmed cannabis buds, stored in a glass jars. Medical cannabis

Dry and trimmed cannabis buds, stored in a glass jars. Medical cannabis

The Planning Commission on Wednesday voted to recommend an ordinance concerning signage for medical and retail marijuana establishments.

The proposed ordinance would limit signs to 15 square feet for Carson City’s two recreational marijuana stores.

The two pot stores are co-located inside the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries, Rise on Clearview Drive and Sierra Well on Highway 50 East, which are already allowed signs of up to 15 square feet for their dispensary businesses.

The suggested ordinance, recommended to the Board of Supervisors, would allow the businesses to have separate signs of equal size for each part of their business or a single sign of 30 square feet.

“It is still a lot less than permitted for other retail businesses,” said Lee Plemel, director, Community Development.

Other retailers are allowed signs as large as 600 square feet based on a formula using the frontage at their location.

“We do support it, we think it clarifies what we can and cannot do,” said Will Adler, principal, Silver State Government Relations, who represents both marijuana retailers.

The commission voted 5-1 with Daniel Salerno voting no and Elyse Monroy absent.

The commission also heard an appeal of a staff decision. The case involved an existing fence city staff said exceeds heights allowed by code and an accessory structure, both of which could be permitted with a special use permit.

The appellant’s attorney, Kevin Benson, Allison Mackenzie, said the applicable municipal code was ambiguous and his client, Peter Gibbons, built the fence in good faith. A complaint regarding the fence initiated a code enforcement call that Benson said was not followed up for two years, leading Gibbons to assume it was allowed.

Benson also said surrounding neighbors have similar fencing and accessory units so code enforcement on his client’s fence was selective, capricious, and arbitrary.

Hope Sullivan, planning manager, said she had spoken to Gibbons and it was her understanding he planned to apply for a special use permit. She informed code enforcement, who gave him 18 months to comply.

“I fully support staff’s interpretation of the code,” said Commissioner Candace Stowell. “There is a process here and everyone has to go through that process. You need a special use permit, either up front or after the fact. If you don’t like what’s in the code, apply for a code amendment.”

The commission voted 4-2 to uphold the staff interpretation with Paul Esswein and Hope Tingle voting no.

A tentative subdivision map for 209 single-family house lots in Lompa Ranch was tabled again. The item appeared on the commission’s February agenda but was continued to March for additional design work and Blackstone Development Group Inc., the applicant, requested it be continued again to the commission’s April meeting.


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