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Scotts Valley extends dispensary moratorium
SCOTTS VALLEY — City leaders extended a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries on Wednesday and asked staff to revise proposed rules for backyard beekeepers that would include neighbor notification of the hives.
The medical marijuana dispensary decision extends a 45-day moratorium passed last month for another 10 months and 15 days, essentially approving a one-year ban on the medicinal pot shops as Scotts Valley leaders assess the stores’ potential pros and cons.
The original moratorium came in response to a local businessman hoping to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Scotts Valley, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
“The council’s recommendation was to take the time needed to do this right,” said Mayor Jim Reed, before he and other council members unanimously approved the extension.
Council members also unanimously approved changes to proposed rules governing backyard beekeepers in residential neighborhoods, which will return for final approval at a future meeting.
That discussion was prompted by a city resident who asked council members for permission to keep beehives in his yard. City staff studied the issue and recommended allowing one to two hives per property, dependent on lot size but with a minimum of 10,000 square feet.
Council members on Wednesday asked that staff return with a revised proposal requiring beekeepers to get a permit similar to that needed when cutting down a tree. That permit would include mandatory notification of neighbors about
the hives, but not a full-blown zoning commission hearing nor the $1,000 fee that goes with it.
Council members varied widely in their stances on the issue.
Councilman Randy Johnson called the whole discussion “way off base,” and compared regulating beehives to regulating pit bulls or cats. The animals can be dangerous or trigger allergies, he said, but don’t require a city permit to keep.
In a flowering backyard, “there’s this buzz and there’s a reason. It’s nature happening,” Johnson said.
But Reed, whose son has peanut allergies, said he sympathizes with neighbors who might be allergic to bee stings and would not want a hive holding up to 100,000 bees moving next door.
“That’s not nature, that’s active solicitation of a huge mass of bees,” Reed said.
A revised proposal will go to the city’s Planning Commission before returning to the council. Those dates have not been set.
In addition, a Scotts Valley man’s request to close Scotts Valley Drive and other city streets so he can host a bicycle race should return to the council next month for further consideration.