Danville commission to talk marijuana ordinance, new cell tower

Town seeks new marijuana regulations after Prop 64 passes

In the wake of California voters approving a bid to legalize marijuana for recreational use earlier this month, the Danville Planning Commission is set to review a proposed local ordinance Tuesday to institute new restrictions on marijuana-related activities in town.

The ordinance would extend Danville's existing ban on medical marijuana dispensary, processing and delivery activities to include non-medical marijuana, and it would address cultivation in ways consistent with Proposition 64 provisions, city attorney Robert Ewing said in his staff report to the commission.

State voters approved Prop 64 -- the Adult Use of Marijuana Act -- on Nov. 8 with 56.5% support, legalizing the use and possession of recreational marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older and directing the creation of a state regulatory system for the sale, cultivation and process of marijuana and related products.

"While the new law protects the rights of cities to regulate or ban most marijuana-related activities, it does partially preempt local regulation of personal cultivation," Ewing said.

As proposed, Danville's post-Prop 64 ordinance would prohibit outdoor marijuana growing within the town limits and allow indoor cultivation for personal use of up to six plants in a home or accessory structure that must be locked with the plants not visible from public places.

The Planning Commission will discuss the draft ordinance Tuesday night and consider making a recommendation to the Town Council. The commission meeting is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. inside the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.

In other business, the commission will debate a revamped proposal for a Verizon Wireless cell tower on an Elworthy Ranch Circle hillside near the Quail Ridge neighborhood.

The current proposal recommended by the town's Design Review Board calls for six panel antennas on a 45-foot-tall monopole that would be painted green to blend in with the backdrop of oak trees, David Crompton, town principal planner, wrote in a staff report.

The updated proposal differs from the original concept -- for the cell tower to be disguised as a 30-foot-tall faux water tank -- that the commission sent back to the drawing board in March following a public hearing that included criticisms from commissioners and a group of Danville residents raising concerns about aesthetics, acoustics and whether a new tower was actually needed to improve Verizon service levels.

The new plan would place the pole about 250 feet up the hill to the west behind the residence on the property at 377 Elworthy Ranch Cir. and about 450 feet from the next nearest home, Crompton said, adding that the cell tower would be "largely screened from view." Ground equipment would be placed in the rear yard, screened within a six-foot-tall redwood fence.

To address noise concerns, the updated proposal calls for a battery-powered backup system rather than a backup generator like was originally suggested, according to Crompton.

Telecom Law Firm, PC, performed a third-party review of the project that found "Verizon cannot conclusively prove a significant gap in coverage and the Town cannot disprove Verizon's claims regarding a significant gap in coverage," Crompton said.

The outside study also concludes "the proposal adequately demonstrates planned compliance with federal radio-frequency exposure guidelines," he added.

Town planning staff recommends approval of the updated proposal.

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15 people like this
Posted by Long ter resident
a resident of Danville
on Nov 22, 2016 at 8:10 am

Glad the town will immediately place restrictions on Marijuana use. I personally dislike the smell of Marijuana more than cigar, pipe, or cigarette smoke.

Other than the dollar signs, the logic of voting to legalize Marijuana while at the same time voting to increase the tax on cigarettes to reduce the amount of smoking is crazy. We are just trading one harmful substance for another. Can we expect proposed increases on Marijuana tax in coming years to try and discourage the use?? I also hope there are enough limitations put in place and the economics are not favorable for our Central Valley farmers to preferentially grow Marijuana over food.

We have to accept the voting results, but I have a lot of concerns and I haven't even mentionrd the question of how the police check for DUIs when Marijuana is involved.

9 people like this
Posted by Danville
a resident of Danville
on Nov 22, 2016 at 8:35 am

I completely agree with Longterm Resident on this. It is ridiculous that our state would allow recreational marijuana use, and I am glad that our town will pass some regulations limiting its use. People seem to forget that all the horrible health problems associated with cigarette smoking occur with marijuana, along with many additional problems, such as lowering I.Q., D.W.I., and being a gate way drug leading to more serious drugs use.

I was embarrassed that our local School Board refused to take a stand on this Amendment, despite spending the last 30 years trying to fight drug use and having red ribbon weeks and other programs aimed an encouraging students not to smoke and use drugs. I hope that these politically correct cowards on the school board are all recalled, or at least all get elected out of office, as refusing to take a stand on marijuana use sends a horrible message to our children.

9 people like this
Posted by P
a resident of Danville
on Nov 22, 2016 at 10:05 am

Both are excellent points of view above about the marijuana issues. I am disgusted how the town's Design Review Board is bringing up the issue of the Verizon tower again. It is NOT about the design but the health issues associated with its existence. I also read that Verizon cannot prove any significant gap in coverage so why is this issue being brought up again? My disgust lies with the town planning staff recommending approval. As far as the radio frequency exposure compliance guideline is concerned, I don't trust anything the government deems "safe." Minimization and prevention and two keys words in my vocabulary to help define the meaning of safe.

19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 26, 2016 at 10:47 am

Unfortunately in this world money is blind to all else.
Did anyone not read yet another tragic story of a 16 year getting a felony Dui? Why are we teaching and showing our children this is ok?
Well it's ok it moderation they say, I myself do not know any moderate Marijuana users, whether it be alcohol or any other mind altering substance none of them have benefited society in a positive manner on a grand scale. The long lasting negatives consequences on society far out way any positive short term gains.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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