Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Antioch Council votes 3-2 to allow recreational marijuana businesses in city

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

The two areas of Antioch where recreational marijuana related business will be allowed.

Two sections of town will be allowed to have any type of cannabis businesses including retail dispensaries, for now

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in spite of the overwhelming opposition from those who spoke against the item, the Antioch City Council voted 3-2 to approve a Cannabis Business Overlay District, allowing recreational marijuana related business in two sections of the city. Councilmembers Tony Tiscareno, who made the motion and Monica Wilson who seconded it, were joined by Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe to approve the ordinance. Mayor Sean Wright and Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who was the most vocal opponent, voted against. Cannabis Business District Staff Report 05-22-18

The two areas where marijuana businesses could be allowed are in the Verne Roberts Circle area near Costco and the Wilbur Avenue corridor from A Street to the Antioch bridge. (See map above.) However, as Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs pointed out, “It does not permit, by right cannabis uses. Any cannabis business that wants to open in one of the shaded green areas would require a use permit from the city council and the council can deny.”

In addition, the council can come back later and add more restrictions to the types of marijuana businesses that could be allowed.

For now, all types, including retail are allowed, in spite of the concerns expressed by Police Chief Tammany Brooks, who warned of increases in violent crime due to the presence of “large amounts of cash and large amounts of marijuana.”

“From a law enforcement standpoint, we have a difficult time, especially on the retail side of the cannabis business…it’s always been on the illegal context,” he stated. “We do see the negative consequences of marijuana and other drugs…we see this as a taxing business on our resources. If we bring businesses in that could increase violent crime, and we’re talking about a cash only business…we have pizza delivery drivers who get robbed for a little money…”

Following public comments which were all opposed to the ordinance, as well as council discussion, Ogorchock made a motion to ban all uses, but it died without a second.

Wright said he was willing to allow research and manufacturing, only and wanted a ban on retail. Tiscareno, whose been a supporter of allowing marijuana businesses in Antioch as a revenue source “to pay for more police,” since 2012, said he supported retail for medical marijuana. But his motion for the ordinance without limitations approves the retail sales of recreational marijuana, as well.

Both the city staff and Antioch Planning Commission recommended the council adopt the ordinance.  However, the commission only passed it on a 3-2 vote, because two members were absent during the night of their meeting. Usually, four votes of the seven members are required to approve a recommendation to the council or oppose a matter.

Please check back later for more details and updates to this story.

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State of the City: Mayor Wright, Chief Brooks report on achievements, future of Antioch

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Mayor Wright shared this satellite map of Antioch and the surrounding area during his remarks to show all the open space in and near Antioch, compared to the small Sand Creek area (just northeast of “West Hartley”) planned for new homes. Source: Google Maps

“We want this to be the place that people want to live, not move away from.” Mayor Sean Wright. Speaks of balanced, conservative development

By John Crowder

On Friday, May 11, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual State of the City luncheon for 2018 at the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Park.  While attendees dined on a lunch buffet provided by Celia’s Mexican Restaurant, they heard from Chief of Police Tammany Brooks and Mayor Sean Wright in a presentation that lasted just over an hour.

Richard Pagano, CEO of the Antioch Chamber, welcomed everyone to the event, then introduced Chief Brooks.

Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks offers his remarks. Photos by Antioch Chamber of Commerce

Chief Brooks: Department Using Technology to Prevent, Reduce Crime

Brooks began his presentation by providing an update on the latest crime statistics.  The data he presented included statistics for the past year and trend information for the last five years.

Brooks went beyond the simple reciting of statistics, however, providing details that he said were being used to help law enforcement take a more proactive approach to community policing.  He shared that the information he was providing could also be used by members of the public to take actions that would substantially reduce the likelihood that they would become victims of crime.

Brooks noted that violent crime was down 20% over the past year.  Digging deeper into the data, he explained that, of the ten criminal homicides that had occurred, eight involved criminal activity, one involved a robbery, and one involved a family dispute.

Two-thirds of robberies, Brooks said, occurred at night.  Of the aggravated assaults that took place, in three-fourths of the cases, the perpetrator was known to the victim.  While there was a significant reduction in residential burglaries, he noted that in one-third of these crimes, the house itself or a window to the residence had been left unlocked or open.

Newer key technology, according to Brooks, contributed to the fact that almost 80% of car thefts were of cars that were 10 years old or older.  He noted that in 90% of these crimes, the stolen vehicle was recovered.  Brooks attributed a portion of this success to the installation of cameras equipped with license plate readers.  He emphasized how his department was continuing to seek ways to leverage technology to fight, and prevent, crime.

Other highlights shared by Brooks were that crime has been in decline over the past five years, that the City has had a net gain of fourteen officers since the passage of Measure C, and that response times have been significantly reduced. (Editor’s Note: The City has only had a net increase of seven officers since Measure C was passed, using the correct figure of 89 sworn officers as the base, not 82 that the council and staff are using).

Future priorities for the police department include a focus on gang and drug enforcement, increased collaboration with neighboring law enforcement agencies, and continuing engagement by officers and staff with members of the community.

Community volunteers, according to Brooks, continue to make substantial contributions to reducing crime and blight.  He highlighted the Volunteers In Police Service, the Police Explorers, and made special mention of Antioch resident Tim McCall, who led an effort to raise funds for additional K-9’s, which Brooks called a “force multiplier.”

He concluded his remarks by saying, “Antioch is already a safer city,” as he pledged to work to continue moving citizen safety in a positive direction.

Wright shared this satellite image of the Highway 4 interchange with Laurel Road, showing how it will connect with the other section of the road once the homes are built in that area. Source: Google Maps

Mayor Wright Highlights City’s Achievements

Mayor Sean Wright followed Brooks and began his remarks by thanking his fellow council members for working together, as he acknowledged each one of them individually.  Referring to the positive results that had been related by the Antioch Chief of Police, Wright said, “This all comes as we work together.  It’s all of us coming together.”

Mayor Sean Wright speaks about Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown during his remarks as Antioch Chamber of Commerce CEO Richard Pagano looks on.

Wright then highlighted some of the major economic development successes over the last year, including Best Buy moving to Antioch, the new Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill restaurant opening soon on the waterfront, BART operations beginning on May 26, the opening of the $15 million Rocketship School on Cavallo Road this coming fall, and the creation of four Opportunity Zones in the city.

Wright continued discussing economic development as he touched briefly on regional collaboration, and the desalination project that was a result of a major grant received by the City of Antioch, one of only three such grants in the state of California.

“This will help our community create jobs and create water,” he said. “This is huge for our community.”

Wright emphasized that there are many ways, now, for residents to become involved in Antioch and help the city move in a positive direction.  He noted that the City was providing information through Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor, Antioch on the Move, Join the Conversation, and especially emphasized the SeeClickFix app. (Available for download on Android GooglePlay marketplace and at the Apple iTunes store.)

“There is no time to rest,” Wright continued. “We just finished districting.  Decisions on cannabis are coming up.  We’re hiring an economic development director, hopefully on board in the next two months.”

Addressing the homeless situation, Wright discussed the Care Center that was being built that would, “help the homeless get the services they need.”  Wright also thanked Council Member Lori Ogorchock and District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, who he said, “worked together to bring a Family Justice Center to Antioch.”

Wright shared this satellite image of the Sand Creek Road/Highway 4 interchange and the east end of the Sand Creek Focus Area in Antioch, where the road will be extended. Source: Google Maps.

Says Sand Creek Will Take Antioch Into the Future

After discussing the “Four Corners” of Antioch, Wright turned his attention to the Sand Creek Focus Area. He said, “There’s a petition right now around Sand Creek,” which he noted was seeking support to curtail development of the area.

Showing a series of slides to put the issue into perspective, Wright said that development around Sand Creek of estate homes and senior housing was part of a long-standing plan to take Antioch into the future.  With respect to estate homes, Wright said, “These are jobs, these are people with money to invest.”  He also said that, without this development, “we get no connection,” referring to the fact that there are currently two off-ramps that take people into Brentwood and Oakley but go nowhere into Antioch.

When questioned further about this issue at the end of the presentation, Wright said, “Balanced, conservative development to help finish building infrastructure around the Laurel and Sand Creek exits should bring about senior and estate housing that does not exist in our community.  This development is vital if we are to attract those willing to make the investments in our community that will result in the high-tech jobs that we desire.”

Concluding his remarks, Wright said, “If you want to help, get involved.  Drive us to the future that we need.  We want this to be the place that people want to live, not move away from.  Thank you for coming today and thank you for your help.”

Antioch Chamber CEO Pagano, closing the event, encouraged everyone in Antioch to work together to improve the City.  “If there is an issue that you care about, please, step up and let your voice be heard,” he said.

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Annual Antioch Rivertown Art & Wine Walk Saturday, May 5

Friday, May 4th, 2018

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May Summit in Antioch to teach companies about hiring formerly incarcerated workers

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Photo courtesy of NELP.org.

Success Stories and Training for Contra Costa Employers at Fair Chance Employer Summit

The Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County’s Employment & Human Services Department (EHSD), in partnership with the Office of Reentry and Justice, presents the Fair Chance Employer Summit in Antioch on Wednesday, May 16.  Employers will learn about strengthening their hiring processes, minimizing risk, and maximizing value by hiring formerly incarcerated workers who struggle to find employment.  They will gain understanding about the California Fair Chance Act which took effect on Jan. 1, 2018 and how to take advantage of government incentives such as tax credits, fidelity bonding, and wage reimbursements.

WHO             

  • Formerly-incarcerated speakers with their stories of struggle and success
  • Current employers and trainers who have hired/trained these workers
  • Prospective Fair Chance employers, HR professionals, corporate counselors, workforce development professionals, and other California business leaders who want to learn more

WHEN            Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

WHERE          Antioch Community Center

4703 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, CA

INFO &                       CC County Workforce Development Board at (925) 602-6800

REGISTRATION       https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fair-chance-employer-summit-tickets-44411504004

PARTNERS                City of Antioch, City of Brentwood, City of Oakley, City of Pittsburg, HealthRight 360, Soutwest Airlines, Checkr

MORE INFO              The Workforce Development Board (WDB) of Contra Costa County is a unique public/private partnership providing oversight for federally funded workforce programs in Contra Costa County. The WDB’s primary goal is to support a strong workforce system that is flexible and customer-focused.

VIDEO LINK              https://youtu.be/ys9zTNqj2bE

Narrative: John Krause, formerly incarcerated and owner of Big House Beans; Nilton Serva, formerly incarcerated and college student; Barry Hathaway, The Stride Center, Executive Director describe their stories and successes.

Attend and enter for a chance to win a pair of roundtrip tickets anywhere Southwest Airlines flies in the U.S.  (Must Be present to win.)

For more information about Fair Chance Employment, visit http://www.nelp.org/campaign/ensuring-fair-chance-to-work/.

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Construction begins Wednesday on new fast-food restaurant at Somersville Towne Center

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Steak ‘n Shake Antioch is hiring.

By Allen Payton

Somersville Towne Center Marketing Manager, Shannon Skinner announced on Tuesday, April 17, “Tomorrow morning(Wednesday) at 6:30 a.m., we will be commencing the construction for the new Steak ‘n Shake restaurant.”

According to the company website, Steak ‘n Shake was founded in February 1934 in Normal, Illinois. Gus Belt, Steak ‘n Shake’s founder, pioneered the concept of premium milkshakes and a “better burger”, by hand-crafting cuts of steak to create its flagship Steakburgers™.

Since then, the brand has become one of the most recognized and loyal brands in the restaurant franchising business, synonymous with freshness and quality.

Steak ‘n Shake Antioch will be located on the southeast corner of the Somersville Towne Center, located at 2550 Somersville Road, near the corner of Fairview Drive in Antioch and is expected to open later this summer.

Owners Raj and Sonia Sohal are excited about their new restaurant, which will offer a different type of fast-food experience.

It will include full-service dining, with flatware and servers, Raj shared. We wanted to bring something different to Antioch.

New Steak ‘n Shake site at Somersville Towne Center.

Opportunities for employment are available, as well. Please contact Sonia at (925) 234-5076 or visit Steak ‘n Shake’s recruitment website. Be sure to choose California, Antioch.

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Shop Antioch’s historic downtown during the Rivertown Spring Sidewalk Sale Saturday, April 7

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

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Antioch Council to hold special workshop on potential marijuana industry in the city Saturday, March 24

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

From the report to the Antioch City Council on a potential cannabis industry.

By Allen Payton

The Antioch City Council will hold a special workshop to receive and discuss an Economic Analysis of Commercial and Recreational Marijuana Uses Within the City this Saturday, March 24 at 9:00 AM at the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Park, 4703 Lone Tree Way.

Possible businesses could include manufacturing, cultivation, test laboratories, distributors, retailers and microbusinesses.

According to the report by consultants Cannabis Support Services, the impacts of a “cannabis program” to the city government include administration and compliance, monitoring, audits, and education and would require the following city and county departments to be involved: Planning, Code Enforcement, Finance, Police, Fire, Economic Development, City Attorney, and Public Health, as well as Public Utilities.

In order to start such an industry in town, the report says the city needs to “Know what resources will be required to develop and administer a cannabis program.” Those include” Planning and Permitting, Initial and On-going Inspections – building and safety, fire and hazmat, public health; Tax and Compliance Audits, Prevention Programs, Education Programs, Public Relations/Media, Data Collection and Interpretation, and an evaluation of the existing workload for City Staff.”

The report also includes challenges with approving a cannabis industry in town: “Future federal enforcement is unclear; Lobbying effort to eliminate all cannabis specific taxes (as with alcohol or tobacco); Traditional banking access still limited – asset seizure potential limits lending; Emerging cashless sales options are not fully tested; Continued impact of the black market; Economic stability of the commercial market; Public health and safety issues – DUI, CUD, development of adolescent brain; and Available internal and/or external resources.”

The council can decide to continue its current ban on all segments of the commercial cannabis industry, which includes deliveries into the city, or they can authorize any or all segments, and then regulate commercial cannabis businesses and personal cultivation, as well as impose taxes and fees.

The public will have the opportunity to give their input to the council at the workshop, but no decision will be made. Any decision by the council would occur at a future meeting.

See the complete report, here: Antioch Commercial Cannabis Industry report

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Rivertown Easter Egg Hunt in Antioch’s historic downtown Saturday, March 31

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

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