LET THE PUBLIC SPEAK
EDITOR: In spite of the city’s commitment to approving marijuana dispensaries only in industrial and commercial areas, away from residential areas, the Santa Rosa Planning Commission came perilously close to approving one in the middle of a quiet, densely populated, residential area in Bennett Valley.
The operator failed to legally notice the hearing. Thanks to alert citizens, the hearing was continued and enormous defects in the staff report were discovered.
In January 2020, the city conducted a neighborhood meeting with an overflow crowd objecting to the proposal. Objections poured in, including a lengthy petition and emails detailing concerns about increased crime, traffic, safety and the operator, Karen Kissler, a Marin County attorney who already owns one dispensary in Santa Rosa.
The proposal would make the new dispensary the hub of Kissler’s countywide cannabis enterprise. Nevertheless, the staff report recommended approval, entirely omitting any objections of the neighborhood.
Furthermore, it ignored the likelihood of increased crime, rubber-stamped the applicant’s representation of traffic burdens and overlooked notice defects. These omissions represent a dereliction of the planning department’s duty to protect citizens. We deserve better. The proposed dispensary constitutes a threat to our neighborhood.