Council Extends Redding’s Recreational Pot Ban Till the Spring and Gives Soccer Park a Boost

After losing a bet with Mayor Brent Weaver (a Shasta High coach), City Attorney (and Foothill High booster) Barry DeWalt wore a Wolfpack jersey all day Tuesday. Photos by Jon Lewis.

With a unanimous vote, the Redding City Council on Tuesday extended the city’s moratorium on recreational pot sales, cultivation and manufacturing for a year, but City Attorney Barry DeWalt said draft ordinances dealing with legal weed should be before the council by April at the latest.

At its last meeting, the council directed DeWalt to get to work on ordinances that would do the following:

–Prohibit all outdoor cultivation of marijuana in the city limits and allow greenhouse or “mixed light” grows in appropriately zoned areas.

–Repeal the existing ordinance allowing licensed patients to grow as many as six medical marijuana plants outdoors. (Prop 64, passed by California voters last November, allows for as many as six plants to be grown indoors.)

–Allow commercial pot sales through a limited number of dispensaries or collectives, with those businesses selected through a request-for-proposal system.

–Allow the manufacture, distribution and delivery of cannabis products with regulations on manufacturing methodologies (i.e. no butane extraction).

–Place a marijuana tax measure before voters (licensed cannabis-related businesses would be allowed to operate during the six to seven months it would take to get a tax ordinance approved).

Redding Council members consider extending the recreational marijuana ban.

Extending the citywide moratorium on recreational marijuana gives the city time to refine its regulatory approach and effectively shields the city from any potential regulations imposed by California after Jan. 1, 2018, DeWalt said.

Tom Shuck, a Redding realtor, expressed disappointment at the moratorium and said he has a client eager to locate a manufacturing plant in Redding and begin producing cannabidiol or CBD gel capsules. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive supplement created from marijuana plants that has reportedly been shown to provide relief for epilepsy, arthritis, anxiety disorders and other ailments.

“If we extend it (the ban) we will not have a shot at it,” said Shuck, noting that his client is not interested in locating in Shasta Lake. Shasta Lake is aggressively courting the cannabis industry and currently has three medical marijuana dispensaries.

Rob McDonald accused the council of deliberately dragging its feet due to a prejudice against marijuana users, a practice he called discriminatory and immoral.

Councilwoman Julie Winter defended the city’s methodical approach and denied it had anything to do with any prejudices. “This is a complex issue. All of us want accuracy over speed,” she said.

In other action Tuesday, the council:

Redding Soccer Park

–Voted 5-0 to extend the city’s lease of the soccer park to the Shasta Regional Soccer Association (SRSA) to 2030 to allow the association to get the full use out of the turf replacement project the board has launched.

To help the turf replacement project, the council is applying the city’s $500,000 settlement from a turf-related lawsuit toward the project. The 22-acre soccer park opened in 2007 on Old Oregon Trail and features four lighted fields and a full-service restaurant.

The council also deleted the requirement that the park be called Redding Soccer Park to allow the SRSA to use the naming rights as a revenue source.

Management musical chairs

–Voted 5-0 to reorganize the city’s management team in the wake of Deputy City Manager Greg Clark’s pending retirement in December and Public Works Director Brian Crane’s retirement in 2018.

Under City Manager Barry Tippin’s approved plan, Clark’s position is replaced with a lower-level Management Assistant to the City Manager and the personnel manager is promoted to the position of assistant city manager with oversight of the personnel and finance departments. The planning manager becomes the planning/community development manager to take over some of Clark’s duties.

When all is said and done—and as long as Crane continues to serve as the acting assistant city manager until his retirement—the reorganization will save the city more than $100,000 a year, Tippin said.

FaithWORKS housing loan OK’d

–Voted 5-0 to approve a $440,000 loan to FaithWORKS Community Coalition to help with a $1.5 million project to develop eight units of transitional housing for extremely low-income homeless families with children.

The units will be developed on Linden Avenue. FaithWORKS is expecting federal and state funding, private donations and some private financing to complete the project. The city’s contribution comes from former Redevelopment Agency leftovers that can only be spent on affordable housing projects for extremely low-income households.

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.
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