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«SAN FRANCISCO PLANNING DEPARTMENT 1650 Mission St. Letter of Determination Suite 400 San Francisco, CA 94103-2479 January 10, 2014 Reception: ...»

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SAN FRANCISCO

PLANNING DEPARTMENT

1650 Mission St.

Letter of Determination Suite 400

San Francisco,

CA 94103-2479

January 10, 2014 Reception:

415.558.6378

Al Shawa, Executive Director Fax:

Shambhala Healing Arts Center 415.558.6409 2441 Mission Street Planning

San Francisco, CA 94110 Information:

415.558.6377 Site Address: 2489 Mission Street Assessor’s Block/Lot: 3610/019 Zoning District: Mission Street Neighborhood Commercial Transit (NCT) District Danielle J. Harris, (415) 575-9102

Staff Contact:

danielle.j.harris@sfgov.org Dear Mr. Shawa, This letter is in response to your request for a Letter of Determination regarding a proposed Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) use at 2489 Mission Street for the relocation of Shambhala Healing Arts Center. This parcel is located within the Mission Street NCT (Neighborhood Commercial Transit) Zoning District and 55-X Height and Bulk designation. The request is whether the proposed MCD use at the proposed location is permitted.

MISSION STREET NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL TRANSIT (NCT) DISTRICT

A Medical Cannabis Dispensary use is permitted within the Mission Street NCT Zoning District pursuant to Planning Code Section 736.84, pending a Mandatory Discretionary Review hearing before the Planning Commission pursuant to Planning Code Section 790.141(d). Furthermore, MCDs in the Mission NCT Zoning District may only operate between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. pursuant to Health Code Section 3308(e).

MCD PROXIMITY REQUIREMENTS

A Medical Cannabis Dispensary use is not permitted within 1,000 feet from a parcel containing a public or private elementary or secondary school; or a community facility and/or recreation center that primarily serves persons under 18 y

–  –  –

The proposed MCD location was not found to be located on the same parcel as a facility providing substance abuse services that is license or Certified by the State of California or funded by the Department of Public Health, however this must be verified by the Department of Public Health. The proposed MCD may not obtain an ABC License to sell or distribute alcohol for on or off site consumption. The Letter of Determination request did not indicate whether medical cannabis will be smoked on the premises. If so, the dispensary shall provide adequate ventilation within the structure such that the doors and windows are not left open for such purposes, resulting in odor emission from the premises. Per Planning Code Section 790.141(c), all owners and occupants within a 300-feet radius of the proposed MCD must be notified of the proposed use and allowed 30 days to respond. Lastly, the proposed MCD must comply with all requirements of Article 33 of the Health Code.

DETERMINATION

Given the information provided, the proposed MCD may be permitted at 2489 Mission Street under the Planning Code, pending a valid referral from the Department of Public Health, building permit application, and Mandatory Discretionary Review hearing before the Planning Commission.

APPEAL: If you believe this determination represents an error in interpretation of the Planning Code or abuse in discretion by the Zoning Administrator, an appeal may be filed with the Board of Appeals within 15 days of the date of this letter. For information regarding the appeals process, please contact the Board of Appeals located at 1650 Mission Street, Room 304, San Francisco, or call (415) 575-6880.

–  –  –

Before beginning the entitlements process to establish an MCD at the aforementioned location, the project sponsor seeks your considered opinion in the form of a Letter of Determination as to whether this location is in compliance with all standards and requirements of the Planning Code and advances the objectives and policies of the General Plan.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION BACKGROUND

Project sponsor currently operates a half-block away from the proposed site at 2441 Mission Street. On December 16, 2010, the San Francisco Planning Commission took Discretionary Review and unanimously approved this location for an MCD with conditions.

Subsequently the Shambhala Healing Arts Center has successfully operated to those conditions and has complied with all other pertinent City and State Codes and Laws.

On February 12, 2012, the United States Department of Justice notified Mr. Ebrahim Poura, the property owner of 2441 Mission Street that this MCD "is operating in violation of federal law."

To assure that the property owner does not encounter fines and/or imprisonment, Shambhala Healing Arts Center will vacate its current location.

–  –  –

Project sponsor would therefore like to move its business to the nearby location at 2489 Mission Street.

ENCLOSED REFERENCE MATERIALS

"Marijuana Dispensary Closed By Feds Re-Opens. Is the Crackdown Over?," Chris Roberts, San Francisco Weekly, November 23, 2013 Discretionary Review Analysis, Medical Cannabis Dispensary; Case No. 2010.0570D;





December 9, 2010 Additional information will gladly be provided upon request.

Executive Director

SHAMBHALA HEALING ARTS CENTER

ENCLOSURES CC. Philip Lesser Marijuana Dispensary Closed By Feds Re-Opens. Is the Crackdown Over?

By Chris Roberts Fr,, Nov. 23 2012 at 10:31 AM

–  –  –

Back again Its hard to understand the federal government’s plan on marijuana First, President Barack Obama helped encouraged a boom in cultivation and in dispensing when he said states were in charge and he wasn’t going to get involved. Then his Justice Department shut down hundreds of dispensaries across the state - including nine in San Francisco, a third of the city’s total - in a crackdown that began Oct. 7, 2011.

Over the summer, the feds took aim at the biggest fish, Oakland’s Harborside Health Center (who will meet the feds in court Dec. 13). Then something funny happened: The crackdown stopped. Cannabis dispensaries opened up in San Francisco without issue.

One just opened in downtown, steps from Market Street. The feds did nothing. So now, one of the nine shut down by federal pressure has simply unlocked the door, flicked on the lights, and opened for business again. Is the crackdown over, or with small amounts of marijuana legalized for all adults in Colorado and Washington, do the feds simply have better things to do?

United States Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag has yet to conduct a single raid of a medical marijuana dispensary or arrest a medical marijuana provider or patient (though Oaksterdam University. the Oakland cannabis college, was raided in April). She shut down more of the local medical marijuana industry than George W. Bush’s attorneys ever did using a simple method: a letter sent via registered mail. The letters said the dispensaries were too dose to schools, to rec centers, to other places children congregated. The dispensaries needed to go, the letters warned landlords, otherwise stiff prison sentences and property forfeitures were possible.

The summer was bad for medical cannabis in San Francisco. Two of the citys longestoperating and most-active dispensaries, Vapor Room in the Lower Haight and HopeNet in SOMA, both shut down. There was talk of fighting the feds in court before it was decided it was smarter to close the storefronts and go delivery-only (the slim pickings of which are a very good way to go out of business forever). When Haag took aim at Harborside, the biggest dispensary in the country, things really looked grim.

And then it stopped. No more letters, no more closures. So a few weeks ago, Al Shawa, dispensary operator of Shambhala Healing Center, at 2441 Mission St., decided to reopen his doors.

The decision was mainly fiscal, Shawa said during an interview on Wednesday. He was broke. His employees were broke. He had invested it all in the dispensary. Maybe the crackdown was all political. After all, Attorney General Eric Holder, who had warned California in 2010 that the Controlled Substances Act would be "vigorously enforced" if the state legalized marijuana, stayed silent as both Washington and Colorado did exactly that.

"I don’t want to fight anyone," Shawa says. "I don’t want to be a hero. I just did this to feed my family, to help my employees feed their families."

Of course, it’s the landlords, not the dispensaries, who were threatened. An attorney for property owner Ebrahim Poura of Beverly Hills refused to comment to SF Weekly.

What’s more, the feds seemed to lose their appetite for this. Down the street from Shambhala, a group of merchants mailed Haag a letter, asking her to step in and shut down a dispensary that had just received a permit but hadn’t yet opened. There appeared to be no response. That dispensary, the Morado Collective, is preparing to open. And no effort, as far as anyone knows -- many dispensaries have gone into press silence since the crackdown -- has been made to shut down the remaining dispensaries in San Francisco. There are now about 20 in operation, including delivery-only services, down from the high-water mark of nearly 30.

Is the war over? Nobody is exactly sure. Press officers for Haag have steadily refused to comment on the crackdown. But for good or ill, Shambhala is back.

SAN FRANCISCO

PLANNING DEPARTMENT

s.

–  –  –

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The proposal is to establish a new Medical Cannabis Dispensary (dba "Shambala Healing Arts Center") at 2441 Mission Street. No physical expansion is proposed for the structure. The proposed Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) will sell cannabis and cannabis foodstuffs. It would not allow on-site smoking or vaporizing. The MCD will grow minor amounts of cannabis on site. Modifications will be made in connection with this property to comply with Mayor’s Office of Disability requirements.

Planning Code Section 790.141 states that all MCDs are required to be heard by the Planning Commission, which will consider whether or not to exercise their discretionary review powers over the building permit application.

The Shambala Healing Arts Center has been formed with the purpose of providing safe access to medical cannabis for those suffering from debilitating illnesses. The executive officers of this center bring over fifty years of commercial and cultural service to the community. Their experience includes several years of business activity at the subject site. They intend to fully comply with the comprehensive regulatory framework for MCDs in San Francisco. The site has already been fully renovated to meet Department of Public Health, Department of Building Inspection and the requirements of other pertinent agencies. To further protect the health of the Shambala Healing Arts Center patients and employees this will be a nonsmoking environment.

SITE DESCRIPTION AND PRESENT USE

The project site is improved with a one-story and mezzanine commercial building of approximately 3,800 square feet. It is currently vacant and was last use as a retail clothing store dba Privilege. The building

–  –  –

has two individual store fronts. The proposed MCD would occupy the northern store front. The proposed MCD would occupy approximately 1,875 square feet.

SURROUNDING PROPERTIES AND NEIGHBORHOOD

The subject property is near the middle of the east side of the 2400 block of Mission Street (between 20 1h and 211t Streets.) This corridor was rezoned during the Eastern Neighborhoods planning process as Neighborhood-Commercial Transit (NC-T) in recognition of the availability of transit and high commercial vitality of this portion of Mission Street. The site is located within four blocks of two BART stations, one block from MUNI stops and one block from two public parking garages. The 2400 block of contains a number of medical uses including Los Portales and Mission Medical Centers, Farmacia Remedicos, several dental offices and several optometrists. Other uses within the subject block include dwellings, a sizeable amount of retail clothing shops with outdoor activity areas in front as outdoor displays areas, a pawn shop, some food uses, a photo studio, and a large abandoned theater (Tower Theater).

The site is also located one block north of the "Mission Miracle Mile" business improvement district (BID). This BID district is located on the east and west sides of Mission Street from 21st Street to 22nd Street. The BID spans approximately 1,500 linear feet of sidewalk frontage and contains 20 parcels within its district.

The Mission Street Commercial Transit District is located near the center of San Francisco in the Mission District. It lies along Mission Street between 15th and Cesar Chavez (Army) Street, and includes adjacent portions of 17th Street, 21st Street, 22nd Street, and Cesar Chavez Street. The commercial area of this District provides a selection of goods serving the day-to-day needs of the residents of the Mission District. Additionally, this District serves a wider trade area with its specialized retail outlets. Eating and drinking establishments contribute to the street’s mixed-use character and activity in the evening hours.

The District is extremely well-served by transit, including regional-serving BART stations at 16th Street and 24th Street, major buses running along Mission Street, and both cross-town and local-serving buses intersecting Mission along the length of this district. Given the area’s central location and accessibility to the City’s transit network, accessory parking for residential uses is not required.

This District has a mixed pattern of larger and smaller lots and businesses, as well as a sizable number of upper-story residential units. Continuous retail frontage is promoted by requiring ground floor commercial uses in new developments and prohibiting curb cuts. Housing development in new buildings is encouraged above the ground story.

ISSUES AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS



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