The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved cannabis retail outlets in the unincorporated Riverside County communities of Bermuda Dunes and Highgrove, though Supervisor Karen Spiegel warned no additional marijuana shops will be approved in the latter for the remainder of her term as board chair.
“No more after this,” Spiegel told representatives of the Department of Planning regarding Cheapest Hydro’s outlet near La Cadena Drive and Center Street. “It’s getting a little high (in number). I have a commitment to do what’s best, and this is the last one.”
Cheapest Hydro’s 13,559-square-foot facility will be the fifth cannabis outlet in Highgrove permitted by the board in the last year. The location has been specifically zoned for cannabis retail and manufacturing operations.
The proposal ran into opposition from members of the Highgrove Municipal Advisory Council because of the cluster of dispensaries already present, and because it would be visible to school children using a pedestrian bridge in the area.
Spiegel said she took all concerns into consideration, but still felt the operation would be acceptable, noting that the proprietors intend to initiate a number of upgrades, including redoing the building’s exterior, which has suffered from over four years of neglect.
The outlet will provide on-site marijuana sales, as well as a mobile delivery service, available daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to the county Transportation & Land Management Agency.
The business will employ up to two dozen people, TLMA said.
Under the 10-year conditional use permit and development agreement, Cheapest Hydro will be required to make a first-year public benefits payment to the county totaling $107,732. An ongoing annual payment of $150,000 will also be owed, increased 6% every year.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposal on May 5 and forwarded it to the board for final authorization.
In a separate public hearing, the board cleared F2-Palm Desert to open a dispensary in the area of Varner Road and Berkey Drive in Bermuda Dunes.
There was no public opposition on record.
The 2,572-square-foot storefront will be run out of a building in need of interior improvements, which the new proprietor intends to make, according to TLMA.
Documents state the retailer will operate seven days a week, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. At least 10 employees will be on-site daily.
The county Planning Commission approved the proposal on March 24 and forwarded it to the board for final authorization.
Under the 10-year conditional use permit and development agreement, F2- Palm Desert will be required to make a first-year public benefits payment to the county totaling $51,296. An ongoing annual payment of $120,000 will be owed as well, helping cover the expense of additional law enforcement services in the area. That amount will be increased 3% annually.
The board has previously authorized dispensaries and manufacturing facilities in unincorporated Corona, Green Acres, Lakeland Village, Mead Valley and Temescal Valley.
The county’s 2018 Marijuana Comprehensive Regulatory Framework, codified under Ordinance No. 348, provides for steps that prospective businesses must take to be eligible for permits. Safety and health safeguards are part of the regulatory stipulations.
To date, the board has approved only indoor marijuana manufacturing and distribution outlets — not outdoor commercial cannabis grows — in unincorporated communities.