There was applause and some cheering when Woodland’s Planning Commission approved a series of a total of five separate cannabis manufacturing, distribution and testing facilities in the city’s industrial section.

Some of the 21 people gathered before the commission said it was an “historic event” for the city.

Now, the hard work begins as planners only looked at the zoning and land-use regulations, which amounted to three conditional use permits. The political aspects will probably take center stage when the plans are put before the City Council in coming weeks.

Acting Thursday, commissioners had very questions for the businesses. City planning staff, had already gone over the proposals and recommended them with appropriate conditions and the necessary state permits.

Only one person spoke out against the businesses, saying that since the federal government still considered marijuana to be illegal, the actions in fact violate federal law.

Under Woodland city ordinances, none of the businesses would involve retail sales. All are permitted under the November 2016 voter-approved Proposition 64, which allows legalized non-medical cannabis use, possession and cultivation by people age 21 or older. They are also permitted under the December 2017 City Council action which approved commercial cannabis testing, manufacturing and distribution.

Combined, the businesses should employ more than 16 people, which commissioners considered a positive aspect of the applications.

Specifically, ProTerp Manufacturing needed a conditional use permit for a commercial cannabis manufacturing facility in Suite F at 1230 Harter Ave. The second firm, Epic Bros. Enterprises, wanted the same type of permit for a distribution facility but just around the corner in Suite J, 1230 Harter Ave. The third business, known as Tanforan Ventures, would provide cannabis manufacturing, distribution and testing at 1460 Tanforan Ave., the former NorCal Indoor Sports rink, which closed Aug. 31.

ProTerp intends to develop 10,055 square feet of the 42,241-square-foot industrial building. Epic Bros. Enterprises would use 4,027 square feet of space in the same building. The property is bounded by vacant land, existing industrial development and East Street to the west, Harter Avenue and Interstate-5 to the north, and existing industrial development to the east and south. The applicants would be located in the southeast and northeast corners of the building.

City staff reported there are no sensitive uses within 600 feet of the parcel edge of the subject property. The site is also around 2,000 feet from the Yolo County Office of Education and separated by the I-5 Freeway.

ProTerp also included a Community Relations Plan and assigned a Community Relations Manager, Nuriya Safarova, according to city Senior Planner Cindy Norris. In a letter to adjacent businesses they provided contact information and explained their intent and mission to be a compliant business and to be a model for other similar businesses. Norris reported there was no opposition from other businesses in the area.

The only issue that could arise is the proximity of the second business, Epic Bros. Enterprises, since it’s in the same building. However, Norris told commissioners that there are only a limited number of sites and buildings available for cannabis uses. As of now, due to the lack of cannabis businesses, there is no “over concentration” in the area.

The Police Department also ran a review of calls within a 1,000-foot radius from the project sites for the past year — which is also required by city ordinance — and found no high volume of criminal activity. There was also no response, Norris reported, from other law enforcement agencies, such as the District Attorney’s Office.

ProTerp intends to hire as many as eight workers and operate from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, using a chemical extraction process and then packaging the finished product, Norris reported. The plan involves the use of volatile chemicals, but nothing more significant than some other businesses. The city’s Fire Department agreed, indicating that as long as the process is done correctly there would be no fire hazard.

Any disposal of hazardous waste, explained Norris to Commission Chris Holt, who asked about it, would be handled through Waste Management, which was set up for such things.

Safarova, who handles community relations for ProTerp and is also one of the owners, said there would be strict quality controls on the finished product, which would draw more consumers away from the black market. “I’ve been around for a year and I know how much work it has taken to get to this point. I’m very honored to be part of this historic moment … to be one of the first applicants in Woodland.”

The second ProTerp owner, Ron Mellon, said he’s set up similar businesses in Irvine, Sacramento and Calavaras County (where marijuana cultivation has since been banned) and that he also owns a cultivation farm in Oregon.

He stressed the need for compliance with state and local laws and indicated that Safarova would be in charge of that aspect of the business.

Commissioner Steve Harris, who served on the panel’s ad hoc subcommittee that helped draft the cannabis ordinance, said the entire process “went incredibly smooth” and that he had no questions of any of the applicants because they had all basically been answered in the city staff report.

Holt said he thought the process seemed to going “faster than it should … I think having manufacturing of this type is something we should be leery about.”

Nonetheless, he said ProTerp had done a “great job in putting this together and crossed all their ‘Ts’, but I’m still concerned.” Holt abstained from the final vote, which approved the conditional use permit 5-0 among the six commissioners present.

Commissioner Kirby Wells, prior to his motion to approve the project — which he did for all three applications — said he was “incredibly excited about this …. I’ve done a lot of research and this puts Woodland in a unique position. We’ll be the first major city on I-5 going south having this type of business.

“This will bring high quality technology and high quality jobs to the city,” he added. “As we look to the new technology park in the future this will feed well into it. I appreciate you guys being here and this being the first (cannabis business) approved. This is a very important night for the city of Woodland.”

Harris seconded the motion by Wells — as he did with the other two applications — quipping “I suppose you want me to second that? Well, let’s do it.”

Epic Bros. received basically the same response. Owners Bejan Farahbakhash, Inderveer Takhar, Robert Takhar and John Terrell, reported there would be between three and eight employees on site at any time with two shifts of eight hours each. The business itself would involve the purchase, sale and transfer of cannabis goods as well as storage.

Farahbakhash told commissioners “this is a special moment for us.” He said he’s owned and operated a number of Arco AM/PM gas stations for more than 20 years and this was a new venture for him.

The most significant question Farahbakhash faced from commissioners was the size of the vehicles being used, which he explained would be two Sprinter-type vans.

Commissioners approved the Epic Bros. request on a 5-0 vote with Fred Lopez abstaining.

Tanforan Ventures’ request was only slightly different in that it wanted to do manufacturing, distribution and testing all at one site, according to owners Coors Wright, Shanan Day, Katie Blackstone Martin and Samuel Marquez. Like the other businesses it also wouldn’t be open to the public, and might operate as long as 24 hours a day, although typical hours might. be from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Wright told commissioners “it’s been a long time coming,” in seeing the proposal up for approval. He expressed his gratitude toward the city and Norris specifically for the assistance. “I have had some experience in dealing with other cities and this has been the easiest.”

Yolo County cannabis grower Spencer Manners, representing about 40 local growers also told commissioners he was “very happy to deal with these projects and keep the funds here in Yolo County.”

The final vote on Tanforan Ventures was 4-0 with Holt and Lopez abstaining.

The only person speaking out against the projects was Dale Dennis, who said he “stood opposed to the introduction of marijuana under the infamous title of cannabis so long as it remains a class one controlled federal substance.”

“I know the cities in California are in a rush to do this,” he said. “There are a lot of people who claim that marijuana is no worse than alcohol, like alcohol is the poster child for responsible behavior … I think these requests are putting the cart before the horse; before the federal government has allowed it.”

Dennis feels the projects will place a “legal burden” on the city in the future if the federal government decides to take action.