Pot shops will not be coming to North Carson Street anytime soon after the Board of Supervisors denied a proposed ordinance Thursday.
Supervisors voted unanimously to deny a proposal to allow retail marijuana stores and medical dispensaries in the retail commercial zone along a section of North Carson Street north of Winnie Lane, west of Hot Springs Road and south of Arrowhead Drive and Medical Parkway.
“I am not persuaded,” said Supervisor Maurice White, referring to arguments that marijuana businesses need more options.
Currently, marijuana stores are allowed in general commercial and general industrial zones along a portion of South Carson Street and the eastern stretch of Highway 50. The proposed ordinance came from Green Thumb Industries, which owns the RISE dispensary in south Carson and has been seeking a location for a second store. Strict location requirements for marijuana stores — including separation requirements from schools (1,000 feet) and residential zones (300 feet) — have been in place since 2014. Last year, the Board of Supervisors voted to allow four retail pot shops in the city, matching the number of licenses allowed under state law, but didn’t change location requirements.
On Jan. 25, planning commissioners voted 4-3 to recommend approval of the proposed ordinance for North Carson Street with an amendment to set the northern boundary of the location requirements at Medical Parkway and Arrowhead Drive.
Will Adler, representing the applicant, said GTI spent $3 million preparing the initial RISE store that opened in 2016 and has since had no violations or police activity. He argued it’s not viable for GTI to open a second location in south Carson near the company’s existing store or along Highway 50 near the existing Zen Leaf pot shop.
“What we’re desiring is not to be a burden to the community, not to be an eyesore and not to be unwelcome,” he said.
Pointing to problems with shops too close together in Washoe County, Adler said clustering pot shops can have negative impacts. It reduces one’s business investment, he argued.
“They (GTI) are promising to bring that dedication (regarding RISE) to the next facility they open here,” Adler said.
Supervisors and members of the public were not convinced. White questioned the definition of what’s commercially viable and pointed out numerous restaurants clustered at the Carson Mall and other locations throughout the city do well by generating foot traffic. He said clustering can work with the right marketing.
Supervisor Curtis Horton said he doesn’t support marijuana use and would not support the ordinance. Supervisor Stacey Giomi pondered increasing the distance requirement between pot shops and homes, while Supervisor Lisa Schuette and Mayor Lori Bagwell explored shortening the proposed area by excluding anything south of Nye Lane. Both worried a pot establishment south of Nye Lane would be incompatible with surrounding neighborhoods.
“We are not wanting it in our neighborhood,” resident George Rooker, who lives on Bryce Drive, said in public comment.
In the end, supervisors agreed, voting unanimously for denial while citing compatibility concerns.
Any new ordinance must have two public readings before being adopted. Additionally, marijuana stores in allowed zones still require a special use permit, which are reviewed by the planning commission. As some supervisors pointed out Thursday, the issue before them was a zoning issue, not whether to increase the number of stores.
In September 2022, planning commissioners approved a special use permit for Qualcan’s proposed Jade marijuana store near the intersection of South Carson Street and Highway 50, setting the stage for a third pot shop in the city. GTI holds the additional license. If GTI does open a new store in the currently allowed areas, the city will have reached its allowable number of licensees under current code.
In other action:
• Supervisors approved an approximately $328,343 settlement payout from Walmart regarding opioid-related claims brought by the State of Nevada.
According to the Carson City District Attorney’s Office, the State of Nevada will receive $32 million by the large retailer as part of a $2.4 billion global settlement. In accepting the payout, the city agreed to give up claims as defined in the settlement agreement.
• Supervisors approved accepting a nearly $1.9 million grant for water rights at Buzzy’s Ranch and a $2.4 million grant for the Carson River Trails Phase III – Prison Hill West Project.
Both federal grants stem from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. The Buzzy’s Ranch grant, to purchase water rights to enhance the wetlands, has a $50,000 local match that would come from Carson City quality-of life funds.
The second grant does not have a match and will be used to construct a new trailhead at Koontz Lane and build 2.5 miles of trail on the west side of Prison Hill, stretching from Koontz Lane to near Snyder Avenue.
Resident Robyn Orloff was concerned the 10- to 12-foot-wide multiuse trail could be “impactful” to surrounding neighborhoods. In response, Schuette emphasized the equitable nature of wider trails, allowing more uses.
• Supervisors adopted, on second reading, an ordinance revising rates and fees at the Carson City Landfill. The new rates will take effect in July and apply to tipping fees at the landfill, not curbside pickup.
Under the new ordinance, the rate for Carson residents disposing of solid waste will increase from $24 a ton to $30 a ton, with a $10 minimum charge remaining the same. The out-of-city fee for solid waste will increase from $58 a ton to $74 ton, with the minimum charge rising from $30 to $42.
The rate hike will generate about $1 million a year for capital improvements and operations, according to Public Works. The department has operated the landfill since 2000. There hasn’t been a rate change at the site since 2011.
Giomi voted against the new rates.
• Supervisors reviewed pending bills at the Nevada Legislature as presented by Stephen Wood, the city’s government liaison.
They voted to support several bills, including Senate Bill 22 that would revise government legal noticing requirements allowing legal ads to be posted to newspaper websites; Assembly Bill 104 that would give cities an extra bill draft request each legislative session for the purpose of amending city charters; and Assembly Bill 60 that would revise the process by which local governments notice “the annual assessment roll for a neighborhood improvement project,” according to the bill.
Pending legislation can be tracked on the city’s website: https://www.carson.org/government/departments-a-f/city-manager-s-office/82nd-legislative-session.
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