The rules and requirements for potential commercial marijuana cultivation businesses in West Covina are beginning to take shape.
While the city had ruled out marijuana cultivation in West Covina in 2017, the City Council changed course in April and in a split vote approved commercial cultivation in the city.
The only part of the city these businesses can potentially set up in is its manufacturing zone — a T-shaped area in the northwest of the city that is flanked by Baldwin Park to the west and Irwindale to the north and east, the city has determined.
The city Planning Commission voted last week to notify residents of any of the three cities within a 1,500-foot radius of any incoming marijuana cultivation businesses, which would ensure West Covina residents to the south and southeast of the manufacturing zone wouldn’t be left in the dark.
“We need to notify as many residents as we can,” Commissioner Dario Castellanos said. “If we don’t, we might get residents asking why they didn’t know about it.”
In July, the Planning Commission penciled out the standards for commercial marijuana cultivators wanting to operate in West Covina. Businesses would have to seek a city marijuana business permit, a city business license and a conditional use permit to open shop, city Senior Planner Ron Garcia said.
Also, city marijuana permits would be limited to one year in term with an annual review and renewal process, according to a city staff report. The City Council still has to sign off on the proposed rules.
The Planning Commission also recommended that an ordinance allowing commercial marijuana cultivation should prohibit consumption of marijuana on the business’ premises or elsewhere in the city except in private residences.
Garcia added that physicians who issue medical marijuana prescriptions would not be allowed to operate in or around the businesses. Commissioner Don Holtz requested that “in or around” be replaced by a specific distance.
Resident Robert Torres was one of two people who offered public comment on the subject, and he suggested the city keep in touch with the West Covina Unified School District regarding marijuana transportation routes in and out of the manufacturing zone because of Monte Vista Elementary School’s relative proximity to the area.
“My concern is that I’m not sure where the primary routes will be — whether trucks will be on residential streets, the size of the trucks, what will happen if there’s an accident or spillover near the school,” Torres said.