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.