Despite continued opposition Antioch Council finalizes Cannabis Business District on 3-2 vote

The two areas of Antioch where recreational marijuana related businesses will be allowed to locate in Antioch.

Spends final $180,000 of one-time funds on traffic cameras,  youth programs; chooses not to give City Manager pay raise

By Alexandra Riva

The Antioch City Council met Tuesday, June 26, to discuss the Antioch Municipal Code establishing a Cannabis Business Zoning Overlay District in the city, among other issues on the agenda. (See related article)

This agenda item was brought to the start of the meeting and received over 20 public comments, most of which were in opposition to the proposal.

A common theme among the public comments shared at the meeting was emotional appeal. Many members of the community shared personal anecdotes concerning the ills of cannabis, like Jessica Bennett.

Bennett began smoking marijuana 17 years ago, hoping that it would help with her depression, but soon realized that it was a gateway drug. Now, she says, she has found relief in religion, and no longer uses drugs or pills.

“I worship in the city of Antioch, and I outreach in the city of Antioch. I teach my Sunday school kids to be leaders, to be different than the world, said Bennett. And I am asking you to please vote differently than the other cities. Just because they voted yes to this doesn’t mean we have to do it too. We can be different, we can be the difference.”

Community member Demetrio Ramirez, who has been involved with the cannabis industry for over 20 years, spoke in support of the adoption of the Cannabis Business Zoning Overlay District.

“I represent the unseen. In this auditorium, what you see, is typical. A group of people, well represented, who are not in touch with the need of Cannabis…the ones who aren’t showing up tend to be the sick, and they need this care,” said Ramirez.

Despite the overwhelming opposition from the public in attendance, the measure was passed on a 3 to 2 vote, with Mayor Sean Wright and Council Member Lori Ogorchock in dissent. During a break in the meeting following this decision, members of the public thanked the two for their votes.

Code Enforcement Consultant Contract

When the meeting resumed, the discussion of a proposed extension to the expiration date of the Code Enforcement Consultant Contract with TRB to June 30, 2019 and an increase to the not to exceed amount by $250,000. This proposition passed with five affirmative votes.

The discussion of a 2018 to 2019 action plan, which would utilize Community Development Block Grant and Housing Successor Agency Funds was discussed next. This action plan includes a recommended investment of just above two million dollars in funding that would go toward providing services and improving neighborhoods in the city of Antioch.

“The city of Antioch, through this process, is putting $100,000 into helping the homeless. That the city of Antioch is putting $385,000 into downtown to help renovate and change some of the streets and improve downtown,” said Mayor Wright.

The item was passed with five affirmative votes.

Item five on the agenda, a public hearing to confirm assessments for landscape maintenance districts 1, 2A, 4, 5, 9, and 10, for the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year, was the next decision made. There were no requests to speak from the public, and a motion was made to vote. The assessments were adopted in a unanimous decision.

Council Spends $180,000 Traffic Cameras, Youth Programs

The council meeting concluded with the authorization of a final allocation of $180,000 for the Consideration of Projects Under the one-time Revenue Policy was discussed next. This money was to be given and spent during the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, but it is recommended that it be moved to the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year budget. Some of the projects discussed, which fit under the one-time revenue policy, were traffic cameras, cameras for the police department, and youth programs. The vote, 5-0, affirmed the reallocation of the $180,000 to the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year budget.

Council Nixes City Manager Pay Raise

During their June 12th meeting the City Council agreed to bring the discussion of a possible $20,000 pay raise for City Manager Ron Bernal back to closed session for further deliberations. The decision followed hesitation by the council.

At the meeting on Tuesday, Interim City Attorney Derek Cole announced that no amendments to Bernal’s contract would be made at this time. However, direction was given to city staff to develop a salary schedule for Bernal that involves a step system, which is tied to performance, for future consideration.

EDITOR’S CORRECTION: A subheadline for the article about the June 12 council meeting stated the Council approved the $20,000 pay raise for Bernal. We apologize for the mistake.

One Comment to “Despite continued opposition Antioch Council finalizes Cannabis Business District on 3-2 vote”

  1. Dan says:

    Why are their residential neighborhoods included in these zones?
    e.g. East of Minaker and South of Wilbur? Surely that can’t be a good idea?

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